Policy is nothing but a carefully planned system of rules to guide various activities and attain reasonable results. A policy is generally issued by an authority as a formal rule or protocol and is generally implemented as a systematic process or rulebook. A policy may be adopted by an organizational body as an integral part of its business procedures or as an ornament to the formal rulemaking power. In short, policy is nothing but a well-defined system of rules which enables organizations and individuals to undertake desired activities in the economic environment. The effectiveness of any policy depends on the observance, application and feedback of that policy.
Policy formulation involves a decision of what to do first and at what point in time to begin the process of policy implementation. Policy formulation requires detailed assessment of the objectives of the organization, services or enterprises. This enables organizations to formulate policies which are applicable to all the various aspects of their activities. Policy formulation thus involves three stages: determining what should be the objects of policy, determining how these objects should be accomplished and finally determining how these objectives should be made known to the public. Policy formulation also involves a process of educating the staff members about the objects of policy and the procedures to be followed in performing them.
Policy analysis is the process of formulating a policy for the accomplishment of specific objectives. Policy analysis is an important element of the management of public health or international affairs. Policy analysis deals with the questions as to what the public needs and wants, the most appropriate methods of attaining the public objectives and the means available to attain these objectives. Policy analysis also deals with issues such as the relations between public health and international affairs, the relations between public administration and health, issues concerning the relation between public administration and international health. Policy analysis is an important component of the strategic management of public health.
Policy literature includes books, periodicals, and other written materials dealing with issues that affect public policy. A policy maker creates policies by taking into account different inputs from various individuals, institutions, organizations, and organizations. The primary role of a policymaker is to formulate a policy which is in the best interests of the nation or state. A prime directive for formulating public policies is the involvement of various groups within society and different sections of government. Policy makers also depend on various other factors such as the prevailing economic conditions, prevailing social conditions, the prevailing political conditions, etc.
The scope of policy analysis has widened in recent times. Today it has become almost an inevitable feature of the practice of public policymaking. Policy analysis has served a great role in determining the development of international affairs, national economic policy, and the handling of international disputes. It has been a policy of the United States Government that “policy analysis is of major importance in the conduct of government programs and policies.”
The importance of policy analysis can be determined from the fact that “a policy which fails to attain its objectives is not a wise policy.” In short, public policy must be founded on relevant facts and knowledge, and public policies must be modified accordingly, keeping in view the changing circumstances and needs. Policy analysis plays an important role in the formulation and implementation of public policies. The scope and use of this analytical tool are numerous and policy makers have to keep themselves abreast of current events and developments.