Effective policy – 17 characteristics of good policy

How can we find out if politics is good politics. In other words, it has achieved the desired goals of the organization and the required results.

A relatively simple way to determine whether the policy is effective is to apply the following 17 criteria. The 17 characteristics of good policy can help us determine whether it will be effective before it is implemented. The 17 properties can be used as an audit tool to identify any deficiencies in the documentation prior to its implementation.

The 17 characteristics of good politics are;

The results are clearly stated.

Assumptions are clear and explicit.

There is connection to organizational direction.

Due process has been observed at the development stage.

Stakeholders are included in the development.

Public interest has been given high priority.

Organizational expectations are met.

The policy is likely to be both effective and efficient.

The results are given in measurable terms.

There is a capacity to evaluate the results.

It has been appropriately funded and resource.

There is clear responsibility.

It follows all appropriate laws.

It can be enforced.

It is historically informed.

Ideas have been tested before implementation.

The policy results are clearly stated.

Politics must have a clear purpose and result if it is to have any value to the organization. It is important for staff to recognize the problem that is being solved through policy implementation. It is extremely difficult to implement policy in a situation where people do not perceive the need to develop or implement the specific political entity. If policies are implemented to support an organization in its growth and development, it is imperative that policy outcomes are clearly stated so that everyone understands why the policy has been implemented in policy expectations.

The assumptions are explicit.

Part of the policy statement must clearly state why the policy is written and what it hopes to achieve in its implementation. Part of the consultation process before implementing policy should be a test of the process and ideas as to why the policy should be implemented. One of the common problems within organizations is that people at the level of the organization felt that next year, policy meant solving the specific problem, not necessarily existing throughout the organization. The assumptions made as to why policy should be implemented must be tested within the organizational context. Is a perceived problem in a department a rule problem that needs to be resolved from an organizational point of view or is a specific issue that relates to that department and had specific staff within the department.

There is connection to organizational direction.

Policymakers must ensure that policies are linked to the overall direction and goals of the organization. The overall framework of the company will provide some strategic direction and will be important in assessing the direction of the organizational policies. Policy writers must ensure that the policy supports existing policies and procedures within the organization. One of the tests of good policy is that it supports the organization in achieving its goals and objectives. Often, time policy through its implementation can actually prevent employees from achieving the organizational goals. Politics should be seen as pillars that support the structure of an organization. Politics should be written in such a way that they remove obstacles for staff and enable them to reach their full potential.

Due process has been observed.

The organizational rules and principles must be established and clearly understood as part of the political development process. It is important that all components of the organization have some input into the political development.

Policy implemented in a department may seem fair and reasonable until this policy has a detrimental effect on other parts of the organization as a whole.

As part of the organizational framework, the structure must be both developed and implemented, enabling policy development to take place in a concise and engaging way, so that every aspect of the organization has their input into policy development and implementation.

Stakeholders are included.

In other words, stakeholders directly affected by policy implementation and policy outcomes need to develop an inclusive process whereby they can participate in policy development. Part of the political development process is therefore clearly identifying who all stakeholders are. And appropriate advisory strategy must be implemented as part of the political development process.

One of the major issues that can develop a stakeholder is encouraged to participate in policy development is the expectation of each stakeholder that their specific results or wishes will be achieved in policy implementation. Often, it is difficult in fact almost impossible to achieve all the desired results from each stakeholder group.

One of the key components of policy development is to discuss with each of the stakeholder groups the policy outcomes to be implemented. Where these outcomes clearly do not meet stakeholder expectations, it is imperative that the organization identify these issues and resolve these conflicts as much as possible.

Public interest has been given high priority.

Publicly, all government policy must have its central public interest. In other words, the policy is written with the general result and the expectation is that the public should feel better as a result of policy implementation. One of the key challenges facing the government when implementing policy is to ensure that the policy effects do not have detrimental effects on community members.

Organizational expectations are met.

Policy writers need to realize that they have two audiences they have to deal with first audience is a group of people whose politics have a direct impact. In other words, the staff who will be directly affected by the implementation of the policy. Staff may need to implement new procedures as a result of the new policy being implemented. Their work practices may change. The second audience and often more decisive audience other leaders in the organization. Have the leader’s expectations be addressed and realized in the political outcome. It serves little purpose for the policy presented at a board meeting to find that the majority of the board does not actually support the political intent or specific results.

Policy writers need to have a clear understanding of organizational expectations and what the political intent and outcome is when developing the policy.

The policy is likely to be effective.

The intended policy is to achieve a specific result and the result must be effective in terms of the impact it has on the organization. Proper part of the consultation process will help identify areas where the policy may not be effective within the organization.

The policy is both effective and cost effective.

Policy guidelines should ensure that organizational resources are used appropriately. It achieves very little of the new policy implemented in a cost effect on the organization is significant.

The policy is measurable

This refers to measurable indicators that will provide evidence that a particular policy has a desired effect. This is especially useful during the evaluation phase of the policy cycle.

There is capacity for evaluation

As stated in the desired attribute above, the ability to measure the effectiveness of any policy gives it the capacity to be evaluated. Policy evaluation helps an organization determine efficiency and possible areas where changes are needed, enabling that organization to work at its’ most effective level.

It is appropriately funded

An organization must not only ensure that its policies and policy development initiatives are funded properly and appropriately, it is imperative to identify and allocate the necessary funds for its implementation. Your organization should be budgeted for these initiatives; stay within budget.

Clear accountability

It should be clear from the policy which persons and departments are responsible for what actions and within what timeframes. Everyone, from the police officers to the direct worker, is responsible for part of the policy, whether for proper use of funds, appropriate protocols for development or the recommended implementations must be held directly accountable.

It follows all appropriate laws

Policies, whether within government organizations or business, must comply with certain laws. If the police officers are unsure whether the policy they are proposing crosses any legal lines, the organization’s attorneys should be consulted. Failure to do so and allowing unlawful policy to be adopted for implementation can be very expensive at a legal level.

It can be enforced

A policy that cannot be enforced is not worth the time and effort spent on it, much less the paper it is written on. If the policy is practical, it should be enforceable. If not, you may need to revise and change it.

It is historically informed

If an organization is not aware of past experiences, they often find themselves “reinventing the wheel”. It is a waste of time and effort and money. Using a good policy framework can help prevent recurrence as the organization must constantly review and revise, if necessary, all policies and lessons learned from the evaluations.

The ideas have been tested

Ideas can be tested through “field testing” or “dry running”. More practically, however, testing can be done by looking back with a historical view, as mentioned earlier. Consultations with staff and others who understand and have better “first hand” experience may also be helpful when testing a proposed policy.

For policy implementation to be effective in the policy outcomes to be achieved, it is essential that the policy be reviewed prior to its implementation using the above 17 criteria as a guideline.

The 17 characteristics of good policy also provide a strong foundation to enable policy to be reviewed and evaluated regularly. It is critical that the current policy is regularly reviewed and evaluated to ensure that policy results are still being achieved and the organizational goals originally intended to do so.