Language selection


Policy Development: Building Options and Recommendations (FON1-J02)


This job aid explains the decision-making process of weighing options and making recommendations that support policy development.

Published: April 4, 2018
Type: Job aid

Policy Development: Building Options and Recommendations


To be comfortable with the decision-making on a recommended policy direction and its relative merit, decision-makers must be convinced that the options address all angles of alternatives. Options tend to address some or all of the issues and can vary in cost. Conventionally, three solid options would be proposed to the Minister, but Cabinet will ask for more. Be prepared.

Option 1

An all-encompassing option that addresses almost all the issues and costs.

Option 2

A middle-of-the road option that addresses the most critical issues, thereby costing less than the comprehensive option.

Option 3

A smaller, less comprehensive option that addresses some of the issues, but not necessarily all the critical elements, and is the least costly.

  • Do not use variations on a single option—or "straw" options—even if you're convinced that a particular option is the best. All options should be credible and robust. It is up to the political leadership to choose whether to take or dismiss your advice.
  • Sometimes it is better to propose to do nothing. This is the status quo option.
  • Make the options about what they should do, and how, sufficiently concrete; real options must include practical measures.

What are your options? (Refer to your policy instrument worksheet).

Developing a recommendation

  1. The selected policy option must be the one whose implementation will lead to the desired outcomes and align with a government priority. You must put forth the recommendation—the one that will best address the solution to the problem and foster measurable change.
  2. The recommendation should cover:
    1. What's the best deal?
    2. Does it solve the problem or make it go away?
    3. It is relatively safe?
    4. Does it lead to more changes?
    5. Does it carry the power of partnership?
    6. Does it deliver on the government's policy/priority/agenda?

What is your recommendation?

Date modified: