Problem, Cost, Consequences.
If the intention of your policy is to get some publicity and have something to say to the people who are demanding something must be done, then any policy will do.
But if the intention of your policy is actually to resolve or reduce a real issue then there are some necessary steps. I always try and think “PCC”; Problem, Cost, Consequences. (NOT Police and Crime Commissioner.)
(1) Know the problem
You need to be able to state exactly what problem you are trying to solve. If you can’t even get this starting point then any policy is extremely unlikely to work and quite likely to make things worse. This is not as easy as it appears. You may think you can state the problem you are trying to solve, but when you analyse it you will realise it is only part of the problem, or is a symptom of the problem.
(2) Know the cost
Will the cost of your proposed solution, both in money and other resources, actually be higher than the cost of the problem? If that is the case it might still be worth enacting the policy, but the source of funding should be clearly identified. Or it might be that the cost means a different solution would be more appropriate.
(3) Know the consequences
Consider what the consequences of your proposed solution will be. “Unforseen consequences” are less likely if a little time is taken to *try* and forsee them. Will the consequences be worse than the problem in some way?
There’s nothing “political” in this whatsoever. These simple precautions work for policy regardless of whether it is left- or right-wing. If only we’d spend a bit of honest time looking at new ideas for policy like this we’d make far fewer errors and many of our problems would be resolved or lessened.
The trouble is we seldom do. And the reason we seldom do is sometimes because we think we know the problem and don’t need to (incorrectly, in my opinion), sometimes because we don’t WANT to know the problem for various reasons we don’t like to admit to ourselves, and sometimes because a scary mob with pitchforks are urging less thought more action.