Last edited 12 Oct 2018

What is policy?

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In general terms, a policy is a set of ideas, principles or plans that are proposed or adopted by organisations or individuals as a basis for making decisions or progressing a strategy.

Many policies are created by central, regional and local governments. In this case, policy differs from regulation in that it offers recommended or prescribed procedures, rather than legally stipulating or prohibiting certain actions.

A policy is often formalised in written form as a policy paper. This might include the following standard elements:

  • Purpose.
  • Applicability and scope.
  • Effective date.
  • Responsibilities.
  • Impacts.

In terms of the built environment, planning policy is hugely influential in relation to how land can be developed. In England, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) decides national planning policy and this is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Planning Policy Statements (PPS), are written statements published by the government to help explain the statutory provisions of planning policy. They give guidance to those involved in the operation of the planning system and explain the relationship between planning policies and other policies relating to development and land use.

Other types of policy related to construction include:

The term ‘policy’ can also refer to the form of contract that is exchanged in relation to insurance. These contracts are between the insurer and the insured, and are used to indemnify (protect) against some form of potential loss from specified perils.

Designing Buildings Wiki has a wide range of articles related to policy, see: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Category:Policy

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