If there is any part of writing the briefing note (especially the “for decision” note) that really seems to cause angst for people, it’s the “Proposed Options” section – and maybe not for the reason you might think. Generally, this section (see the template we provided a little while ago to see where this fits) sets out 2-to-4-ish clear and distinct options for dealing with a policy problem, and lists the pros and cons for each. Our experience has been that that hard part isn’t coming up with the options. And working through the pros and cons for each isn’t so bad, either. It’s how to write the pros and cons in a way that doesn’t aggravate your reader or weaken your recommendation that seems to be the hard part.