Discussion: Policy Agendas

There are challenges to agenda building that if not dealt with carefully and skillfully can adversely affect an issue or a proposal that you are trying to place in front of a decision maker. On the other hand, no matter how expertly you build an agenda for your issue or proposal, some issues are going to simply be avoided or not selected for consideration. Why is this so?

In this Discussion, you explore challenges surrounding policy agendas and the reasons why some proposals never make it to the decision maker.

Post your responses to the following questions:

  • Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers. Why might these issues be cast aside?
  • Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers’ agendas. Why might this be?
  • Some issues receive significant attention from decision makers. Why might these issues easily find their way onto decision makers’ agendas?

Be sure to support your post with specific references to this week’s resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.

Respond to your colleagues’ by describing at least 3 actions a policy practitioner can take to move a social issue from obscurity to attention and consideration from those in positions of power.

Colleague: Camesha

Hello Everyone,

Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers. Why might these issues be cast aside?

Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers as it doesn’t receive enough support from the public. In order for decision makers to act on advocate preferences, advocates must communicate their policy preferences to decision makers (Edwards&Hoefer, 2010). Many times this occurs is due to the lack of support that an advocate receives from the public. Also if funding isn’t available this will also be difficult to get attention from decision makers as it will be hard to get the social issue media attention. Advocating for social issues is also a long process. Once a social issue is discovered, you must also find someone to introduce your issue to the house which requires having political power. Sometimes not having the right connections can lead to lack off attention from decision makers such as not being part of an organization. Social work advocacy organizations can address this knowledge gap by providing instructions for locating one’s elected representative, sharing contact information for elected officials, presenting guidance for how to contact elected officials, and supplying templates to help format effective communications (Edwards&Hoefer, 2010). Another issue is due to the fact that legislators usually don’t give attention to social issues that aren’t a political gain to their party. Before an issue can advance into the later phases of policy practice, where proposals are actually refined, enacted, and implemented, decision makers must decide that a specific issue is important enough to merit serious consideration (Jansson, 2018).

Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers’ agendas. Why might this be?

Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers’ agendas. This may occur due to the fact that it isn’t easy as it may seem to get attention and support from decision makers which is why I previously noted that funding is needed so that the issue can get attention from the media. Decision makers may only act if they feel that the social issue is a severe need. Protest can also cause decision makers not to support a social issue. Policy advocates who use protests as a part of their strategy to secure policy changes should realize that they can sometimes harden the positions of some public officials against the reforms that they seek, and that protests can sometimes lead to a backlash by persons who oppose their policies (Jansson, 2018). Also if a social issue is not thoroughly researched and advocates aren’t able to tell decision markers why the issue needs to be addressed with significant research, it will be hard to persuade decision makers.

Some issues receive significant attention from decision makers. Why might these issues easily

find their way onto decision makers’ agendas?

I think that some issues receive significant attention from decision makers as it is receives lots of attention from the media like the news. If a social issue is popular is it likely that decision makers will see it and act faster on it. Effective advocacy groups try to shape public officials’ agendas by pressuring them to consider solutions or problems, presenting research that underlines the impor-tance of addressing specific social needs, and publicizing stories in the mass media that dramatize certain issues (Jansson, 2018).

References

Edwards, H. R., & Hoefer, R. (2010). Are social work advocacy groups using Web 2.0 effectively? Journal of Policy Practice, 9(3/4), 220–239.

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.

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