|Community Emergency Preparedness: A Manual for Managers and Policy-Makers (WHO, 1999, 141 p.)|
|Chapter 2 Policy development|
Policy is the formal statement of a course of action. Policy development is usually a top-down process, in that the central authority will prepare policy, and further decentralized policies may then be required. Policy is strategic in nature and performs the following functions:
- establishes long-term goals;
- assigns responsibilities for achieving goals;
- establishes recommended work practices;
- determines criteria for decision-making.
Policy is required to ensure that common goals are pursued within and across organizations, and that common practices are followed. Without agreed policies, efforts are fragmented, leading to lack of coordination and poor results.
While policies tend to be top-down (that is, authorized by higher levels), implementation of the strategies that arise from a policy tends to be bottom-up, with higher levels assisting lower levels. Policy may also be created at all administrative levels of an organization or country, and be developed in consultation with those who are required to implement it. This ensures that a policy is realistic and achievable, and gains the commitment of those responsible for its implementation. Policy must be monitored and evaluated, and possibly revised. Specific responsibility for this should be allocated and evaluation criteria established.