Participating in Federal Public Policy: A Guide for the Voluntary Sector
The federal policy development process
The federal policy development process is complex and confusing as there are many steps and stakeholders involved. However, the three major steps in policy analysis - defining the problem, developing options to solve it and recommending an option - are common in every system.
The politically charged environment in which many policy decisions are made is crucial. It is important to understand that both internal and external politics are influential in this process. That is, not only various stakeholders but also the bureaucrats themselves making decisions will promote different interests.
However, the complexity of the process means that there are many doors through which the public policy process can be accessed - through ministers, parliamentary and senate committees, MPs, the bureaucracy, public consultations, hearings and the media. As there are many opportunities for involvement, be sure to explore and employ the appropriate strategies to suit your organization's resources and focus.
Levels of involvement in policy development
The level to which organizations can be involved in policy dialogue with government varies along a continuum, from a low to high level of involvement. Government may approach stakeholders in many ways but involvement can be initiated from the sector as well. Well-made policy is often initiated both ways with levels of involvement fluctuating at various stages of policy development.