Understanding Policy Making

Facebook, Lloyds Bank, Sainsbury's, Oxfam, your university, the government, your local council:-  Day in, day out, these organisations - and a myriad of others - establish policies, protocols and standard procedures which affect the public, their customers, the environment and/or their profitability.  Their staff give advice to senior decision makers.  But policy advisers are often under considerable pressure to cut corners - and it is also seldom easy for policy staff to 'speak truth to power'. So subsequent decisions are often flawed - and sometimes catastrophically so.

Policy making is therefore often difficult and frustrating, whether in government or in business. It can feel like a game of snakes and ladders in which occasional rapid process up the policy ladder is all too often followed by rapid descent down the snake of an unforeseen problem.  The purpose of this website is to help you navigate your way up this board and implement successful polices. It accordingly:-

It also offers more detailed advice for those who want to influence government policy from outside, and for those who want to understand EU policy making

You can access most of the documents on this website via the menus in the grey boxes below. There is also a comprehensive online library and this online search facility:

Those interested in other aspects of government might like to investigate other Understanding Government websites which look at the UK civil service and regulation.

The Solution

Here is some good advice on how to overcome the problems listed in the grey box to the left.

But remember that ...

Civil Service Ethics

My Understanding the UK Civil Service website contains a number of pages discussing the respective duties of Ministers and officials, and whether it is ever permissible for a British civil servant to say "No! Minister".

Organisational Culture

Not all terrible decisions are taken by over-powerful men and women.  The organisation and culture of large organisations are often to blame.

This Is What Happens When Truth Is Not Told

Here are some recent examples of ...

Those planning major projects seem particularly vulnerable to acquiescing in their bosses' over-optimistic budgets and timescales:-

Policy Making - Useful Checklists & Reports

Here are four very useful checklists and sets of questions which should be thought about before embarking on, and whilst designing, significant new policies or changes of direction:

And, although aimed at a military audience, The Good Operation offers great advice and checklists for those involved in operational policy-making.

Further information About this website, and Contact information, is here.

There is an extensive online reference library.

My blog is here and a link to my Twitter feed is in the footer below.

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Please do drop me an email if you spot anything that is out-of-date, or any other errors, typos or faulty links.