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Public policy is a new concept of study on the international area. It started after the Second World War in North America and Europe when there was a problem in regards to policy implementation that created a gap between government and public. Government was unable to cope up with the newly emerging challenges hence the introduction of policies to address these problems. And also the growing number of schools of higher learning instilled knowledge in learners to come up with some researches that end up coming up with theories on how problems within the society can be resolved {Pacesila & profirolu, 2006
A policy in most cases comes in the form of general statements about priorities that are codified regulations, procedures as well as standards to be achieved. It actually refers to a different path of action recommended for the pursuit of preferred goals in a particular context, directing the individual or organizational decision. Bates & Eldredge, 1980 defined policy as a statement that provides a guide for decision-making by members of the organisation charged with the responsibility of operating the organisation as a system. Whereas Richard & Baldwin, 1976:122 define policy as the formulation of rules, norms and prescriptions that are intended to govern the subsequent decisions and actions of government. Patterning to these definitions, policies act as guideline on how an organization can achieve its objectives.

Public policy
Public policy is a field of study with different meanings. Scholars have defined it according to the discipline it is been used such as economics, as well as administration science. Hogwood & Gunn defined public policy as a label in the field of activities, as an expression of general purpose of state affairs, as a specific proposal, as a decision of government, as a formal authorization, as a programme, as an output, as an outcome, as model of pattern, as a process.

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Public policy is taken to be as a label of some field of activities as it is regarded as activities of the government such as in the field of economics, social or political arena For instance the government of Malawi through the MRA collect some revenues inform of tax from its citizen as well as foreign investors.

It is regarded as an expression of the general purpose of state affairs especially when political parties as well as the government uses it to achieve their desired goal. For instance the HIV/ AIDS policy aiming at reducing the risk of spreading the pandemic.

Public policy is also regarded as a proposal as it forms part of the statements that political organization would like to see being undertaken by the government. During the 2014 campaign, the DPP government in its manifesto promised that it will construct community colleges of which when it came into power it made it possible to fulfill this promise.
Furthermore Hogwood & Gunn defined public policy as decision of the government where the focus is on how specific situations are analyzed. For instance, the Lake Malawi wrangle between Malawi and Tanzania.

Public policy is also regarded as a programme as it serves as a means through which government pursues its objectives. For instance the malata and fertilizer subsidy programme.

Public policy is also considered as official authorization since it is sometimes formulated by the parliament or other statutory bodies requiring an action by the government. For instance the political party bill of 2016 was drafted and then presented to parliament and tabled as a bill and then passed into law.

Public policy is also defined as a product or results. This is a term used to identify what is actually achieved. In this case the results can be classified as output or as an outcome
In addition to the above Hogwood & Gunn definitions, Knoepfel et al, 2011 defined it as a “power games in a specific institutional context played out between various public actors who make concerted effort to resolve a collective problem in collaboration or in opposition to para-state and private actors” As such in relating to what Thomas R. Dye said, public policy is whatever government chooses to do or not to do.
The policy process
This is a process where different solutions addressing different aspects of problems are balanced. Each and every policy has three key elements: a problem definition, goals to be achieved, and the policy instruments to address the problem and achieve the goals. Mostly policy may be formal or informal. It is regarded as a formal because it takes the form of a planned policy document that has been discussed, written, reviewed, approved and published by a policymaking body. For instance, the HIV/AIDS policy. It is also considered as informal policy as it an ad hoc, general, unwritten but broadly understood within an organization that a course of action is to be followed.

Who Makes Public Policies?
Policy comes from those who have legitimate authorities to impose guidelines for action. It is made by elected officials acting in concert with advisors from the higher levels of the administration. Government ministers are the ones mandated to articulate policy on behalf of the government. Whereby the non-elected officials are required to put the formulated policy into action.

Policy Framework
This is a broad set of policies governing the actions of groups and organizations forming a web and impacts new policy development and policy amendments. The existence or lack of a policy affects all additional policies in the web.

Public Policy Cycle
Public policy development is a process that involves the repetition of the steps rather than a linear one. In this iterative process, there are five key phases that forms a policy. The first phase is the emergence of a problem requiring the consideration of the public and decision makers themselves. The second phase is the process of placing identified problem on the government’s agenda with the aim of finding the solution. The third phase is the formulation of several alternatives to resolve the problem. The fourth phase is the adoption of a policy and lastly is the implementation and evaluation of the policy.

Who are involved in the policy cycle?
The policy cycle relates a variety of important group of actors in the policy process through their involvement with the different stages. Those that are involved in the policy process are called policy actors. The government is thought to be one of the entity involved in policy making. It has a last say as well as the funding power towards every policy, but within this there are other actors contributing to public policy specifically in the delivery of complex policy goals such as the public servants, political parties, media, interested groups, the legal system and the public.

Policy Instrument
These are defined to be the methods at the disposal of the government to implement policy goals.. When the problems has been identified, tools of achieving the desired outcome are found. Some of these instruments includes expenditures, regulations, and partnerships, exchange of information, taxation, and licensing, direct provision of services. In some circumstances, government can remain silent by not acting on the desired policy as its instrument.
Public Health Associations as Key Players in Influencing Public Policy and the Policy Cycle:, Leslie A. Beyond Policy Analysis: 3rd Edition. 2005

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