The Keeley Consulting Group: Getting the basics of policy development

A policy could be depicted as a group's way of doing things -- something that advances over time and eventually gets adopted by newer stakeholders. It is a clear expression of an organization's position on certain issues and guides its stakeholders on how to achieve its goals.

It is undoubtedly an essential for any organization as it serves as a pattern or standard that stakeholders will consult when there's a dispute concerning the implementation of a particular decision. However, developing a policy is a long and arduous process.

The Keeley Consulting Group describes the process of policy development as something that's based not only on the organization's collective decision on which direction to take but also on the individual views of its stakeholders.

To easily grasp the essence of developing a policy, here's an overview of the basics:

- Determine the purpose that a certain policy will serve in the organization.

- Delegate a team to focus on driving the policy development forward. The development process could take several months to finish so there should be a plan detailing who should do the required tasks and the corresponding timeframe for each.

- Apart from the obvious need for legal counsel in this research phase, it also requires reading official reports of the organization and existing legislation and policy documents on related subjects. Further information can be gathered from a meeting with experts or a survey among interested parties.

- Prepare a discussion paper containing a summary of all the information gathered from the research phase as well as some policy suggestions derived from them.

- An initial consultation with the stakeholders has to be conducted to get their feedback on the discussion paper. It is imperative that all interested parties be involved in this phase in order to create a sensible policy.

- After the stakeholders have given their views, a draft can now be prepared based on the consultation.

- The updated draft policy has to undergo further discussion and revisions so it is crucial to get the stakeholders' feedback again. Any clarifications or semantic concerns should be dealt with at this point.

- Once the working group has determined that all concerns regarding the policy has been addressed satisfactorily, it can now be finalized. The final policy then has to be adopted formally by the group in a meeting. Also, for the adoption stage to work, the policy should be effectively communicated all throughout the group, making sure each stakeholder is well-informed of its implementation.

- Even when it has already been implemented, a policy could still be fine-tuned and revised. A fixed timeframe should be set to evaluate its effectiveness (e.g. every 6 months, every year, etc).

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