Teaching > Preservation
|Supports for the hunger strike, Tibetian Youth Congress at
the United Nations, April 2004
Public Policy, Advocacy and Lobbying — Terminology
Prepared for Public Policy and Preservation, Discussion
with RWU HP 202: Preservation Planning class, by Karen L. Jessup,
PhD, Chair, Board of Advisors, National Trust for Historic Preservation,
November 17, 2005.
Public policy is a policy the objective of which is the common
good; it is a policy which its maker(s) believes will serve
the people well.
A policy is a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities
to address a given problem or interrelated set of problems. Atkinson
observes that "policy is a theoretical construct. It is a
course of action, yes, but action that is anchored in
both a set of values regarding appropriate public goals
and a set of beliefs about the best way of achieving
those goals."* The idea of public policy assumes that an
issue is no longer a private affair. Policy analysis
is the "disciplined application of intellect to public problems."
It reduces to one question: what are we going to do about the
problem in view?
In the best case, public policy, and public policy development
should be driven by a vision of the future that builds
the capacity of our society to achieve a safe, healthy, and prosperous,
country. It must be recognized, though, that although all our
political parties would embrace those themes, the specific policy
directions they choose to achieve them may differ widely. So,
from government to government and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction
we must accept that people with good intentions can differ profoundly
on the policies needed to achieve common goals. This produces
the dynamic tension between the stakeholders in policy
development, and it is from this tension, and the consensus building
that accommodates it, that strong policy is developed.
* From: Definition of Policy Analysis by Robert Wolf, PhD,
School of Policy Studies, Queen's University, Canada, with emphasis
An advocate is someone who defends or maintains a cause. Advocacy
is the active engagement in efforts to create or effect
changes in policies or systems. Advocates seek to influence
outcomes (i.e. public policy, resource allocation, etc) by
highlighting critical issues, influencing public attitudes and
providing individuals with the necessary tools to have a voice
in the decision making process. Advocacy efforts can take
many forms, including education, media, direct action and lobbying.
There are two forms of lobbying defined under US federal regulation.
Direct lobbying is communication with an elected or appointed
governmental official or a governmental employee who is in a position
to participate in the formulation of legislation. This communication
refers to a specific piece of legislation or governmental regulation,
and expresses your personal view about it. Grass roots lobbying
is communication that attempts to influence specific governmental
action (including legislation) by encouraging the general public
— who may sometimes be members of a group or organization
sharing common concerns — to contact legislators about that
legislation or action. Such a communication should (1) refer to
a specific piece of legislation; (2) reflect a view on it; and
(3) encourage the recipient to take certain action or contact
a legislator about a piece of legislation or governmental regulation.