Advocacy Tool 5


Developing Policy Positions


This tool takes EOs through a three step process towards preparing a policy paper: preparation, planning, and production.(1)

How to use this tool

This Assessment Tool is designed for use by EOs. It is best used as a guide for employers and enterprise development specialists who will facilitate the assessment process with the EO and among other actors.

Having identified in detail the EO's priority issues for advocacy action the EO will need to work this into a position. The EO's policy will assert what should, or should not, be done to alleviate a major constraint on business. This should present the facts, interpretations, and assumptions that make that case for the change it is proposing.

As the EO sets out to convince policy-makers of its 'argument', it also needs first to have a clear idea of its end goal. What does it want to achieve out of the process? It needs to articulate a sustainable solution, alternative approaches, and the benefits for other stakeholders. Where policy does not already exist it may need to develop a new proposal.

A position paper is an ideal vehicle in which to articulate these views and proposals.


Policy position papers are not the only means for communicating or influencing, but they are the most crucial, as they will be the only written explanation of the EO's position. They should stick to the main points concerning the issue and be both incisive and persuasive; the average length of a position paper should be four to six pages.

Policy position papers need to achieve two objectives. First, they need to communicate, clearly and concisely, the position taken by the EO in relation to a specified policy area, which may either be quite narrow or fairly broad. Secondly they need to influence policy-makers, ideally so that they implement the EO's objectives or at least adopt a position that is close to that of the EO's (or closer than it may have been had there been no attempt at influence).

(1) Catherine Smith: Public Policy writing, 2005.