Policy is a planned system of rules to guide activities and achieve reasonable results. A policy is an unambiguous statement of purpose and is formally implemented as either a formal process or formal protocol. Most policies are usually adopted by a governing body within an organization. A government-wide rule is referred to as a statutory rule. The adoption of an organizational rule is usually required by statute. An organizational rule may also be adopted to address changes in the structure of an organization such as acquisition, merger or divestiture.
Policy and procedural boundaries determine the ultimate scope of a policy. Policy boundaries allow administrators to address issues that are not adequately represented at meetings or in day-to-day decision making. Policy boundaries can also define the degree of department or agency involvement in policy development activities. Policy boundaries can also specify the process for making changes to existing policies. Procedures are involved in the formulation of most policies and procedures specify the manner in which policy decisions will be reviewed and approved.
Policy analysis is the process of discovering and determining what the public policy should be. Analysis involves the critical evaluation of public policies, their costs and benefits and their relations to specific ends (e.g., private welfare). Policy analysis can be used to support or oppose legislation. Policy analysis is the primary method employed in international affairs, domestic policymaking, international business affairs and human resources. Analysis has a major role in political science, public administration, social sciences, economics, engineering and technology studies.
Policymaking and policy implementation are related in numerous ways. Policymaking involves drawing up and discussing strategic plans and policies and their implementation. Policy implementation involves taking the initial plans and implementing them. The key role of these processes in ensuring policy effectiveness is played by the process of creating and revision of policy statements. Policymaking is mainly concerned with setting down the rules governing various issues such as national security, healthcare and environment. Policy implementation deals mostly with implementing the plans and it also involves taking the decisions necessary to keep them in operation.
Policy analysis provides the knowledge required for determining the methods of getting the best results from public policy. Public policy is policy that has been established by legislation and in which decisions have been made by governments or groups of citizens. Policy analysis can be used to study the history and facts behind the policies, the existing rules and procedures on public policy and the effectiveness of those rules and procedures. Policy analysis aids decision making in all policy domains. For instance, it can analyze a country’s foreign policy, health, education, immigration, environmental protection, taxation, labor and product markets.
Policy evaluation is the process of assessing the performance of public policies in terms of their effects on the quality of life and their compatibility with other policies and institutions. Policy evaluation is an essential process of review of public policy. Policy evaluation determines the value of a policy statement as well as the need for revisions to the policy statements. Policy evaluations are important as they help individuals understand the meaning and utility of public policies, help them understand the implications of those policies and assist them in taking informed decisions.