Major activities for policy design include the following: (1) What problem is this policy trying to solve? (2) What is causing the problem (that is, what is the theory that explains the cause corresponding solution? (3) Define the target population of the policy. Which persons or groups are included and which are not? (4) Identify the responsible authority. Who is required to carry out the policy, and what will their responsibilities be? (5) Define the provisions and procedures of the policy. Provisions specify the sanctions or services that will be delivered, and the conditions that must be met in order for the policy to be carried out. Individuals responsible for implementing a specific set of rules must also clearly understand the specific sequence of actions to be taken (procedures) to ensure that the policy is carried out consistently.

The policy proposal document should include an executive summary – a summary equal to about 10% of the total memo. Ideally, the summary should be 2 pages or less. This executive summary should succinctly explain each point above and may be formatted with bullet points or other methods to clearly call out the main points.

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Include substantive headings to differentiate one section from another and guide the reader through the policy.

The policy proposal should be about 20-25 pages long and include a minimum of 12 sources, the majority of which should be peer-reviewed journal articles.

The bibliography should be formatted in APA style.

These steps are especially important when the rights of individuals are affected, eligibility might be challenged, resources are limited, and public objections are likely. Clear procedures help to ensure consistency and fairness in the application of a policy.

As you write your policy, remember to include:

An executive summary – a one or two page summary of the main points, using bullet points (or similar) to emphasize the take-home message and evidence to support it.

The problem this policy is trying to solve
The cause of the problem
The target population of the policy
The responsible authority to carry out the policy (this should be the audience for the proposal, so speak to this authority)
The provisions and procedures of the policy

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