Policies are general statements or understandings that guide managers’ thinking in decision making. They usually do not require action but are intended to guide managers in their commitment to the decision they ultimately make.
The first step in the process of policy formulation, as shown in the diagram below, is to capture the values or principles that will guide the rest of the process and form the basis on which to produce a statement of issues. The statement of issues involves identifying the opportunities and constraints affecting the local housing market, and is to be produced by thoroughly analyzing the housing market. The kit provides the user with access to a housing data base to facilitate this analysis.
The statement of issues will provide the basis for the formulation of a set of housing goals and objectives, designed to address the problems identified and to exploit the opportunities which present themselves.
The next step is to identify and analyze the various policy options which can be applied to achieve the set of goals and objectives. The options available to each local government will depend on local circumstances as much as the broader context and each local authority will have to develop its own unique approach to addressing the housing needs of its residents.
An implementation program for realizing the policy recommendations must then be prepared, addressing budgetary and programming requirements, and allocating roles and responsibilities. Finally, the implementation of the housing strategy needs to be systematically monitored and evaluated against the stated goals and objectives, and the various components of the strategy modified or strengthened, as required.
At each step of the way, each component of the strategy needs to be discussed and debated, and a public consultation process engaged in. The extent of consultation and the participants involved will vary with each step.
Essentials of Policy Formulation
The essentials of policy formation may be listed as below:
A policy should be definite, positive and clear. It should be understood by everyone in the organization.
A policy should be translatable into the practices.
A policy should be flexible and at the same time have a high degree of permanency.
A policy should be formulated to cover all reasonable anticipatable conditions.
A policy should be founded upon facts and sound judgment.
A policy should conform to economic principles, statutes and regulations.
A policy should be a general statement of the established rule.
Importance of Policies
Policies are useful for the following reasons:
They provide guides to thinking and action and provide support to the subordinates.
They delimit the area within which a decision is to be made.
They save time and effort by pre-deciding problems and
They permit delegation of authority to mangers at the lower levels.