Policy is a systematic approach to guide human activities and achieve reasonable outcomes. A policy is an expression of purpose and is usually implemented as a process or a formal protocol. A policy is generally adopted by a governing body within an organisation. It governs the overall actions of that body. Policy frameworks or policies are used in many sectors including: business and corporate, healthcare, educational and counseling, government, non-profit and social service programs, sports and exercise, private enterprise and the public sector.
The application of a policy will depend on its details. Policy frameworks are designed to deal with a wide range of issues affecting society. It helps us to solve pressing problems by providing solutions and thus assists in the betterment of our lives. Policy analysis therefore is of great importance in international affairs, political science and healthcare.
Each policy statement or guideline must be justified by research and evidence, and it must not be arbitrary. There are instances when public policy statements or rules may seem to be vague or over broad, whereas rules regarding healthcare might seem too restrictive for the general public. Policy analysis thus is important in deciding what public policy statements are necessary and what are unnecessary. By developing a list of what we need and what we want, the process of decision making can become more efficient. While drafting a policy, care should be taken about the spelling and grammar, as well as the use of passive voice.
Another aspect of public policy analysis is that it helps us to determine how policies affect us as individuals and as a society as a whole. The creation of policies is basically a collective effort. Policy development takes place in many institutions including: the governmental level, local governments, colleges and universities, the private sectors and in the public sector such as: the schools, the workplaces, hospitals, advocacy groups, businesses and organizations. Policy development entails various processes such as: conceptualization, assessment, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and change management. Policy professionals to develop and manage these policies.
There is a common misconception that policy development only refers to the creation of policies. The process actually spans the entire decision making process. Policy professionals work on every decision making process starting from the planning and designing of the project all the way through the implementation of the project. The result of each process is an ultimately valuable result of public policy. As part of the development of public policy, it is important for a public policy to undergo at least 2 policy analysis.
Public policy analysis is thus an essential facet of any governmental endeavor. It ensures that public policy is efficient, effective and just. At the international level, public policy analysis plays a crucial role in formulating and implementing public policies regarding health, education, trade, terrorism, culture and technology. Some other important areas of focus for public policy analysis includes: child protection, foreign assistance, humanitarian aid and development, human rights, immigration, internet and technology, environment and animal welfare. For any government policy to be successful, it requires comprehensive public policy analysis.