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.

Continue reading

Brushes with Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson jointly won the Nobel Prize for economics today for separate work on governance and institutions for resolving conflict especially (in Ostrom’s case) in common-property settings. I was first turned-on to her work by Rod Dobell (see, e.g., “Social Capital and Social Learning in a Full World“) and Darcy Mitchell (see, e.g., “When Communities Collide“) in the mid-90s. Ostrom’s work influenced some of my work around 2000, especially an article I wrote called “On the Saturday Morning Soccer Field: A Habermasian Perspective on the British Columbia Commission on Resources and Environment.”

Continue reading

Collaborative Urban Planning: Applications of the Auckland Experience to Vancouver Island

Notes from a Director’s Dialogue
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 12:00- – 1:30 p.m.
Room A373 (Tom Shoyama Boardroom)
School of Public Administration
Human and Social Development Building
University of Victoria – Victoria, BC, Canada

Collaborative Urban Planning: Applications of the Auckland Experience to Vancouver Island
Continue reading