Public policies

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This article has been adopted from Wikipedia and modified for use on SM-201.

Public policy is an institutionalized proposal or a decided set of elements like laws, regulations, guidelines, and actions to solve or address relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and often implemented by programs. Public policy can be considered to be the sum of the government's direct and indirect activities and has been conceptualized in a variety of ways.

They are created and/or enacted on behalf of the public, typically by a government. Sometimes they are made by nonprofit organizations or in co-production with communities or citizens, including potential experts, scientists, engineers, and stakeholders or scientific data. Sometimes they use some of their results. They are typically made[how?] by policy-makers affiliated with (in democratic polities) currently elected politicians. Therefore, the "policy process is a complex political process in which there are many actors: elected politicians, political party leaders, pressure groups, civil servants, publicly employed professionals, judges, non-governmental organizations, international agencies, academic experts, journalists and even sometimes citizens who see themselves as the passive recipients of policy."

A popular way of understanding and engaging in public policy is through a series of stages known as "the policy cycle", which was first discussed by the political scientist Harold Lasswell in his book ‘The Decision Process: Seven Categories of Functional Analysis’ published in 1956. The characterization of particular stages can vary, but a basic sequence is: agenda setting – policy formulation – legitimation – implementation – evaluation. "It divides the policy process into a series of stages, from a notional starting point at which policymakers begin to think about a policy problem to a notional end point at which a policy has been implemented, and policymakers think about how successful it has been before deciding what to do next."

Officials considered as policymakers bear the responsibility to reflect the interests of a host of different stakeholders. Policy design entails a conscious and deliberate effort to define policy aims and map them instrumentally. Academics and other experts in policy studies have developed a range of tools and approaches to help in this task.

More information is available at [ Wikipedia:Public_policies ]
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