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What is Public Policy Management?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Public policy management is the process of working to formulate and influence public policy from the outside. This is a process mainly unique to democratic forms of government, where those in power must answer to a constituency base. While this process may not be successful in all cases, those companies and organizations that have a plan are more apt to see positive results for their causes.

A great deal of money may be put into public policy management because so much is at stake. Often, non-profit organizations, and even for-profit companies researching new products, may depend on government grants or other government funding. If not, these companies may try to influence regulatory rules or other barriers in order to make it easier for them to do business. That involves making their views known to a group of legislators.

Lobbyists play a role in the public policy process.
Lobbyists play a role in the public policy process.

Before going to legislators, organizations often take the time to come up with a public policy management strategy, which may be the most difficult part of the process. Often, companies may even hire consultants to help them devise a strategy to fit with their particular situation. This policy may be discussed and voted on by an executive team or the board of directors before being implemented.

Most strategies involving public policy management include a multi-pronged effort specifically focused on the legislative and regulatory processes. This means having provisions for monitoring and tracking legislation for changes in rules or laws, researching issues to determine how legislation could affect a person or thing, lobbying in order to make views heard, and possibly even the formation of a political action committee. A comprehensive public policy strategy could also include meetings and event planning, program management, and strategy formulation.

Some portions of the plan will likely take more time and money than others. For example, lobbying efforts, while they may be done over the phone, by letter or e-mail, often take place in person. This requires transporting individuals to a state or national capital, and paying for time and expenses while there so that they can make a case. Some companies also hire professional lobbyists for this reason.

One of the biggest undertakings of any public policy management strategy is forming and maintaining a political action committee. These groups are closely regulated by election laws and, while they can be effective, they must make sure they are abiding by the law. For example, they are required to make regular filings as to where their money is coming from and what their expenses are. This can be a very time consuming and difficult process, but such rules must be followed in order to avoid substantial fines.

Discussion Comments


Essentially anyone can contribute to public policy management. When I call up my senator and ask him to approve a bill or look into a particular issue, I am also contributing to public policy making.

Many Americans underestimate their potential contribution in American policy. Most of us feel that next to lobby groups, interest groups and political action committees, we have little say. But I don't think that's true. Like the article said, elected representatives have to answer to, and listen to their constituency. So if the majority of the constituency wants the representative to pursue a particular issue in Congress, then he or she will have to. That's public policy and management!


@burcinc-- That's a good question. There are many different lobbies in the US that contribute to public policy agendas. Drug companies come to mind first. Drug companies are constantly lobbying to influence public policies that will directly or indirectly affect them. They have very powerful lobbies with many consultants who spend a lot of time speaking to Senators and representatives.


In the US, which organizations are most influential in public policy management?

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    • Lobbyists play a role in the public policy process.
      By: Andrey Burmakin
      Lobbyists play a role in the public policy process.