Public Policy and the Political Science
Policy is a carefully planned document that guides the implementation of conduct and goals through an organizational structure. A policy is actually a legal statement of purpose and is often implemented as a process or a formal protocol. Most policies are generally adopted by an executive governance board within an organization. However, in some cases regulatory agencies and special committees have been known to adopt policies. In other words, a policy can be considered a source document that provides guidance on what to do or not do.
When applied to international affairs, a policy analysis can be used to examine the impact of various policies regarding peace and stability, economic prosperity, human rights, global terrorism, technological advances, environmental protection, proliferation of technologies, information and technology, diplomacy and security, humanitarian assistance, space technology, health care, regional and global issues and diplomacy, technology transfer and proliferation. A policy must provide a concise description of the goals and objectives, and risks that are associated with domestic and international public policy. A policy must be developed after careful consideration of all relevant factors and conditions.
Public policies are those created and enacted by governmental entities in the United States and other Western countries. Policy documents often address specific issues such as taxation and natural resources. In the United States, policy documents originate with individual states and are subject to statutory amendments, judicial interpretation, and state law revisions. A policy that is adopted in the American government contains both federal and state objectives and also serves as the basis for national unity and strength.
Policy documentation and implementation in public policy involve a variety of processes. Policy documentation involves the collection of facts and data, drafting the policy and devising methods for attaining the policy objectives. Policy implementation involves the timely attainment of the policy objectives and the monitoring of the implementation process. The effectiveness of the policy implementation process may be enhanced through the use of applicable risk management procedures.
A major part of the policy analysis involves drawing up and reviewing the vision and mission statement of the policy. This entails a detailed scrutiny of the past policy developments and the purpose of the present one. An assessment of the various constraints that may affect the implementation of the public policy can also be undertaken. This involves statistical and other analysis tools in order to provide the necessary information that will enable the policy to be formulated and made effective.
Policy documentation is not sufficient for policy implementation. Policy documentation and policy implementation are interrelated. It is important for an agency to review and revise its policies periodically to ensure continuity and effectiveness of the policies. For this, agencies require expert public policy advisory groups such as those found under the auspices of the National Research Council to conduct periodic reviews of their policies. Such groups also conduct seminars and workshop events to enable interested persons to better understand public policy.