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Prioritising Policy Issues

Priorities can (and will) change over time but establishing focus areas will allow you to be more strategic

At any given time there may be multiple business priorities, policy debates, consultations, media opportunities or issues relevant to your organisation. This can make the task of prioritising what to focus on seem very daunting – although, it doesn’t have to be.

Priorities can (and will) change over time but establishing a baseline to focus on will allow you to be more strategic and plan ahead. 

So, how do you know which policy issues to prioritise?

Research your organisation - read up on any new or existing information that might shed light on the key issues and opportunities facing your organisation. Consult business plans, annual reports and strategy documents to get a grasp for what success looks like, and what some of the hurdles might be. Read through previous submissions, media releases, social media content and opinion pieces published by your organisation and identify what the crux of them is - is there a narrative for change or keeping things the same? 

Consult your internal stakeholders – leveraging above research, speak with senior leaders and function heads to test assumptions and understand their key challenges and where they see the biggest opportunities. Are there regulations or government policies that stifle their ability to innovate, bring products to market or deliver programs? Are there funding or partnership opportunities that could be pursued to open new markets or deliver better services? Understanding their challenges and barriers to success will inform how you can best support the organisation.

Analyse the policy landscape - understanding and monitoring the broader political and policy landscape will help you know what relevant levers can be pulled to persuade policy-makers (and when the timing is right around things like the budget and elections). Reach out for feedback from other advocates, organisations in your industry, your current political contacts and even former employees – many of these stakeholders may have similar goals and be able to share experiences, give external feedback or align strategies. Check social media and media releases of representative bodies and associations to see if they are working on issues relevant to you. Read submissions made by allied organisations and those on the other side of the debate - doing this will help you get across the entire issue and be better prepared to field questions on why your position is most important.

Knowing which policies will have the highest impact or create the biggest opportunity will help you strategise a clear roadmap for future opportunities – which will inevitably evolve over time to make the most of internal and external changes. 

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