Policy Analysis in Public Policy
Policy is an intentional structured system of rules to guide activities and achieve reasonable results. A policy is an unambiguous statement of purpose, which is formally implemented as an integrated process or formal protocol. Most policies are formally adopted by a governing body within an organisation. However, there are also many examples of organizational policies that are not formally adopted as a binding legal document. Examples of these are: the written policy of an employment agency, the procedures and requirements for the conduct of business in a university or college, or even the rules regarding the ownership, maintenance and disposal of nuclear weapons.
Policy analysis is an evaluation of a publicly available policy. Policy analysis typically identifies what are the constraints on the achievement of the policy and any potential constraints that may arise from the implementation of the policy. The constraints refer to known things that may be called threats to the achievement of the purpose of the policy. This means that if there were no threats then the policy would be ineffective. Policy analysis further includes the identification of what policies are necessary and those that are unnecessary.
Policy analysis provides information about the constraints on the achievement of a publicly available policy. It also gives information about what can be done to address these constraints. Analysis also refers to the documentation that is required to support the policy implementation, which is referred to as citation needed.
Policy analysis plays an important role in the adoption and the management of change. Policy documentation is required for regulatory-based policies, which are policy implementation activities. Authorisation of these activities relies on the effectiveness of the policy. For example, it is important for health authorities to determine the regulation for drugs and to regulate the manufacture, distribution and prescription of such drugs.
In organizations, policy-based processes occur at different levels of government. At the governmental level, policy-making happens through policies determined by political leaders. They are decided after consulting experts on the basis of research results. These policies are enacted into law through legislation. Examples of public policies under this category include environmental policies, immigration laws and criminal laws. Public policies are not limited to the above; many other categories of public policy can be grouped under this category.
There is a growing body of literature on the analysis of public policy. Most policy analysis is conducted through research surveys or focus groups. A survey is conducted to obtain ideas and concerns about public policies. Such surveys are used to construct the content of policy statements. On the other hand, focus groups are used to extract information from a large number of people about public policies.