Where is policy analysis – that particular internal public sector communications function, that’s not limited to the public sector but is certainly endemic to it – heading in the context of Web 2.0? This White Paper concludes:
- Policy analysis and policy briefings are core internal communications functions: policy analysis is a particular function in the public service, that operates at the interface between evidence and decision making; its fundamental objective the attempt to persuade the client to accept both the framing of the problem and the conclusions of the analysis.
- Social and technological challenges are transforming how we manage the policy analysis and briefing processes: post-positivism requires new modes of collaboration and greater emphasis on persuasion; citizen engagement blurs the line between “inside” processes and “outside” processes; we need to understand these challenges if we are to effectively respond to them.
- Web 2.0 tools for policy analysis can facilitate this transformation: moving from hierarchy to collaboration; perpetually-beta briefing notes – beyond “eventually perfect” to “always ready”; returning to the decision-support fundamentals of the policy process; addressing current negative incentives in the system; harnessing the power of public participation.
- Barriers and pitfalls: do not entrust system transformation to enthusiasts; Policy Analysis 2.0 is a system to be managed, not a substitute for managing the system; the system can sabotage any technology that threatens it.