Policy is the most important thing we do as a community because policy decides how we live. Policy is alive and has huge impact in people’s lives. Policy is how we distribute our collective resources, what we stand for and against and who we are in the world. Policy is an intervention in a community and the body politic, and like interventions of other kinds, health interventions for example, policy interventions can go well or go badly. We call the impact of an intervention an ‘outcome’.
Policy is about outcomes, about the skill of intervening to make a positive impact in a community. Getting policy outcomes right involves enormous skill and some luck. We can learn to do better, policy makers are always slightly unsatisfied with their work because they want to do better. Getting policy outcomes right is exciting work, the ‘art of the possible’ built upon the core skills of formulation, advice and implementation.