Briefing Note Template

I’ve done a lot of work on the use of briefing notes in policy analysis and advice communication over the years – both as a research topic and as a practicing policy analyst – and I’ve often had people ask me for a briefing note template, so I’ve made this one available on Google Docs.


Briefing Note Template

I’ve had several people ask me over the years for a briefing note template, so I’ve made this one available on Google Docs:

This template is modeled on a standard template used by the British Columbia Government, and additional commentary is based on the work produced by my firm, published in a White Paper titled “The Briefing Process in British Columbia”  written by Colleen Cunningham.  The full Google Docs version contains comments that guide you through the completion of the document. (The preview does not show the guide comments). Further reference to work on the briefing note can be found in another White Paper titled “Communication in the Policy Process”.

For some thoughts on writing the “Proposed Options” section of the briefing note, see this post on the topic. For an example of a briefing note ‘for decision’ in the Canadian federal government, see this post.

Collaborative Policy Analysis

The Art and Craft of Policy Analysis 2.0

For the past 15 years, the Internet has changed our lives – and changed us. Now the Internet itself is undergoing its own transformation with the accelerating adoption of technologies collectively called Web2.0. This second generation web is characterized by the emergence of the Internet as a participatory platform, with the distinction between consumers and producers blurred. The shift from user-selected content to user-created content has significantly changed our on-line interactions – and has the potential to change our social interactions with it. In the presence of all this change, the public sector is seeking to adapt.

We use the term Web2.0 to describe recent changes in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that facilitate enhanced creativity, communication, collaboration and function. Web2.0 technologies – such as blogs and microblogs, wikis, mashups, social networking, content sharing and tagging – continue to grow in popularity and function. Principally used for social activities (e.g., Facebook and Twitter continue to be cited as prime examples of Web2.0 applications), Web2.0 has also been deployed in a number of corporate environments for marketing and operations management (McAfee, 2006). Under the name of Enterprise2.0, tools such as wikis and blogs have seen widespread uptake. Organizations have years of experience with a range of communication media – email, telephony, intranets and document management systems. What Enterprise2.0 seeks to accomplish is to reduce the traditional management function of coordination necessary in running large organizations and instead builds collaboration into the infrastructure.

Where governments have adopted Web2.0 (i.e., “Gov2.0”), it has generally been in support of communication strategies – principally internal, but increasingly external (e.g., Wyld, 2007). More robustly, Gov2.0 technologies can be deployed to: improve service delivery, improve operations and management and reinvigorate democracy. There has been little emphasis, however, in the application of Web2.0 technologies to that specialized internal communications function – policy analysis and briefings. Continue reading

Creating a Salish Sea Sense-of-Place

The use of the term “Salish Sea” region to define the watershed that drains the lands surrounding the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound has been approved by both the United States Board on Geographic Names and the Washington State Board on Geographic Names. With approval in principle by the office in British Columbia responsible for geographic naming (which represents a recommendation to the Minister responsible), the last barrier to official transboundary recognition of the name change is the BC Cabinet – which is expected to consider the recommendation this month.

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BC – Washington Framework for Transportation, Competitiveness and Prosperity

No bonus points awarded for guessing that Gordon Campbell was behind that title (his first choice was “SharedBorderNow”). The British Columbia Premier (He who takes wonkishness to the next level, and then some) has signed this Framework agreement with his Washington State counterpart, Governor Chris Gregoire, at the conclusion of the joint Cabinet meeting between Washington and British Columbia, held October 9 in Seattle. (Holding the meeting in Seattle means the Premier can avoid that awkward moment when he welcomes the Governor and her Cabinet to the “Best Place on Earth”.)

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Climate Smart Contest for SMEs

The Government of British Columbia is running a contest to awards 20 scholarships for Ecotrust Canada’s Climate Smart program for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Join a group of 10-15 enterprises for three, half-day workshops over 10 weeks run by climate change experts experienced in advising SMEs. Climate Smart is comprehensive, business case-based training that will help your firm create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and identify reduction strategies with a focus on cost savings and brand lift. It is designed to train key staff and provide you with the tools to become more competitive in an era of carbon regulation and volatile energy prices. The program also provides four hours of one-on-one technical support to assist companies and to carry out a final review and approval of the inventory.

Winning firms will be chosen through a random draw and will be profiled on the LiveSmart BC website upon completion of the Climate Smart program. Winners will be expected to attend all three workshops and to carry out the necessary data-gathering efforts to prepare their greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Scholarships are valued at $1500.

The Premier doth protest too much

The British Columbia Climate Action Secretariat has been moved from the Premier’s Office to the Ministry of Environment. In fact, the Minister of Environment is also identified as the Minister Responsible for Climate Action.

Reminds me of June 2005 when the Minister was also responsible for Sustainable Communities and Water Stewardship. Didn’t take long for those business cards to be shortened. The Premier went out of his way to say this doesn’t signal a change in priorities.

On the DM dance front, Graham Whitmarsh is to replace Chris Trumpy as DM Finance in April.