This page collates information gathered in response to the question: What registers/lists of policies exist around the world: is there a "Hansard for Policy" anywhere?

It has been gathered as preliminary research for work to be undertaken in the Service Innovation Lab in late Jan/Feb 2018.

What registers of policy exist around the world?

  • GOV.UK has a list, which used to describe policies in more detail but later found user needs were better met more simply.
  • The directory of Official Information requires publication in NZ of “a description of all manuals, and similar types of documents which contain policies, principles, rules, or guidelines in accordance with which decisions or recommendations are made in respect of any person or body of persons in his or her or its personal capacity”
  • In the US The USA Federal Register appears to have roles which overlap with the NZ Gazette, ArchivesNZ, legislation.govt.nz, and the Electoral Commission.

Challenges for a register: What counts as "policy"?

(Notes from twitter conversations)

  • Policy has many layers (legislative, operational, strategic etc)
  • It can take different forms
  • It follows different processes.
    • All ‘significant policy issues’ must go to Cabinet: see para 5.12 of the Cabinet Manual).
    • Some may be updated regularly (even hourly) e.g. in a crisis situation.
  • Policy is a bit like NZ’s constitution: multiple sources, not necessarily written, or written in the same places.
  • There are different interventions that to achieve policy objectives. E.g. The UK Policy Lab has published a Ladder of Intervention (pdf) and Intervention Cards, which list seven levels of policy intervention.
    1. Nudging
    2. Influencing and Informing
    3. Buying Services and making people use them
    4. Providing services (e.g data privacy)
    5. Taxes and subsidies
    6. Regulation
    7. Laws

You could look to separate out policy decisions from policy itself – if policy is about the choice of interventions to solve a problem e.g. education, regulation, tax etc, then the decisions would be easier to map/register than the actual rules in the policy. However, people and systems usually need to know more more about what the rule is, and less about how it came to be made.

Further reading:

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