Public policies are developed by officials within government institutions to address public issues through the political process.
Policymakers are generally faced with two distinct situations:
- In the ideal situation, the policymakers jointly identify a desirable future condition, and then create policies and take actions to move toward that desired future state, monitoring progress to allow for necessary adjustments; or
- In a less desirable situation, while unable to reach a consensus regarding a desirable future condition, policymakers try instead to move away from present situations judged as undesirable, even though no consensus exists about the preferred alternative.
Central to a policy-maker’s capacity to understand and construct appropriate policy responses to a hazard is their ability to access and apply specialized forms of knowledge.