Policy is a systematic approach to guide decisions and attain rational results. A policy is usually an official statement of purpose and is formally implemented as a legal procedure or rule. Generally, policies are generally adopted by an organizational governance body at a high level. Policy-setting involves the identification and assessment of the needs and objectives of the beneficiaries of the policy, the means to meet these needs and the relationship between these needs and the organizational structure.
Policy-related activities are reviewed periodically to ensure their continued validity, relevance and applicability. Periodically, organizations conduct stakeholder communication activities to improve understanding of policy-related issues. Policy is formal written instructions or rules that are intended to promote, maintain and protect the interests of the general public, society, employees, public agencies and/or other organizations. It is also called a constitutional, regulatory, social, economic or communicative law. Generally, it is adopted to address complex issues that affect public policies and institutions such as: health care, employment, education, environment, scientific research, technology, religion and politics.
Policy influences public opinion in at least two ways. First, policy may affect public opinion because it establishes a perceived norm of acceptable behavior. Policy thus has the power to shape the way in which people see and feel about something. Second, policy may also have an influence on public opinion because it requires a great deal of effort to create, implement and manage. These efforts may be seen as having a considerable financial impact on society.
Policy is an ordered set of rules and policies with a number of significant characteristics. Policy is made by experts who are aware of current relevant conditions and practices and therefore fall well within the boundaries of reasonability, accountability and transparency. Policy can be formal or informal; it can be based on principles, judgments, decisions and requirements.
The purpose of policies and procedures is to inform and protect the public from harm. A large part of the purpose of policies and procedures is to provide decision makers with accurate and reliable information that they need to take decisions about important issues and to protect the public against unfair and irresponsible conduct on the part of others. Policy and procedure must be uniform and consistent. Mature policies are written rules or guidelines that govern the execution of one or more policies or procedures in a business or organization and their application.
Policy and procedure together form the foundation for a society that respects individual liberty and self determination and facilitates free communication and association among citizens. A policy establishes the rules by which the organization carries out its business. It provides the framework within which those rules are interpreted. In this way, a public policy creates a climate in which individuals and organizations are able to choose options among public policies that best meet their needs and enhance their liberty. Policy and procedure therefore support and promote a healthy economy, a free society, and educational programs that provide everyone with the skills and information they need to make important and informed choices.