Back in October I posted I link to "Policy Formulation using Online Engagement" by Craig Thomler. It's a useful document, in fact so useful I've taken some of the key points and condensed them below, I'm convinced that following this process will help in result in developing great policy – Enjoy!
(Disclaimer: Actual 'greatness' of policy developed may vary)
Policy Formulation Process
- Challenge identification – where the actual challenges, issues or problems to be solved are identified, defined, quantified and prioritised.
- Policy formulation and analysis – where specific policies to address the identified challenges are proposed, analysed and assessed.
- Instrumentation development – where the instruments to be used to implement the policy are defined and assessed, potentially including new or amended legislation, realignment of grants and programs, adjustments to processes or language and other settings.
- Implementation – where the policy instruments are put into place.
- Evaluation – where the impact of the instruments is tested against the previous state to determine if the challenge has been addressed.
The Role of Online Engagement in the Policy Formulation Process
Ideally engagement with communities and stakeholders affected by the policy challenge should occur at each stage of the process. Although as we don't live in an ideal world engagement should occur whenever practical. The key point to consider here is that online tools now make it more practical.
|Stage||Potential engagement needs||Common online engagement approaches|
|Challenge Identification||Collect and prioritise policy ideas and strategies||Ideation/Challenges/Simulations|
|Analysis||Identify consequences and refine policy options||Surveys/Simulations/Challenge/Co-authoring|
|Instrumentation||Refine and identify potential instruments||Ideation/Discussions/Co-authoring|
|Implementation||Build awareness and a positive community outlook||Discussions|
|Evaluation||Identify issues and opportunities for improvement||Surveys/Ideation/Discussions|
Ideation (Idea Generation)
While 'Ideation' sounds so terribly modern and sophisticated it is essentially a process for the generation and development of new ideas. Online tools like Dialogue App make it very easy to engage large numbers of people in generating, discussing and rating the merits of various ideas.
Challenges are a lot like Ideation but there may be competition aspect with prizes on offer as an incentive to participants. Often used in developing public buildings or spaces. Check out challenge.gov for an American example. Prizes on offer range from as low as $30 to $400,000. Have a challenge in mind? – Dialogue App is your tool
Simulations enable participants to work through the challenge by considering possible options. The trick is defining the possible solutions which is why simulations are best used in situations where the solutions are well defined i.e.. budgeting processes. Check out Budget Simulator for an example of simulation in practise.
Co-authoring allows participants to get involved in the authoring of documents. Wikipedia would be the most well known example and as the 6th most visited Website in the world the concept does have some legs. Most ideal for cases where you want participants to be collaborators rather than participants.
Surveys provide a structured environment for respondents to work through. The reason why surveys are so popular is they are just so easy. A well written survey can be a joy for respondents to complete and a joy to analyse the results. The quick consult survey tool in Citizens Space provides a survey option or for greater email and text options we recommend Engage.
Online discussions take a range of formats. Options include thread-based forums. blogs or other social media options. Need to host a discussion? Dialogue App is your tool