Public Policy is important, because it affects the everyday individual. Changes to public policy can be big or small and can range on a local, national or international level. Despite the size or level, changes in policy can help to improve the lives and well beings of others.
Policies such as the legislation to protect workers, or even the legalization to give women the right to vote, are both examples of how policy implementations can dramatically change the lives of others. But what exactly is public policy and how can it benefit you or me?
Merriam Webster defines public policy as “government policies that affect the whole population.” Public policy is utilized in response to an issue or problem that arises in a community that requires attention. These issues are usually based on an economic, social, or political nature.
Politicians, bureaucrats, the media, interest groups and voters all have a role to play in the policymaking process, and all have differing forms of authority depending on the policy issue. Using different tactical tools, these advocates find ways of locating others who support their cause, educate the public on the issue and assemble a following of new supporters.
In a democracy, the creation or change of public policies rises in response to the demand. Therefore, the average person can influence public policy, by voting for political parties or candidates that best represent their own values and idea.
Now you know the definition of public policy, but what does that mean for you? How can public policy affect you, your community, or even the world?
Governments tend to evaluate policy practices from other countries and then discuss these potential changes in forums, town halls, or through the use of surveys so that they can engage voters and bring awareness of these issues to your community. Policies can directly affect you as an individual; it can affect your daily life, your hobbies, your community life.
An example of this is health policy. According to Global News, Alberta spends the second most money per person on healthcare fees. As an individual you are taxed in order to pay for these health services, and as a result we have free access. However, because healthcare takes up one of the biggest chunks of the Alberta budget, everyday Albertans have become actively engaged in evaluating the budget to bring more efficiency. Many argue that the spending does not reflect the quality of service, so they have become involved in the health policy process to make change in a grassroots type of way. This is an example of everyday Albertans becoming involved in the policy process and seeking to make change in their community.
Public policy varies from community to community or nation to nation. This is true in regard to healthcare among provinces in Canada, to other more international issues, such as immigration policies in Canada compared to Germany. Regardless of where you live, public policy plays an important role in the international community of setting out to solve issues efficiently, as well as effectively.