The following outlines the process for development and approval of policy positions / resolutions at the Prince George Chamber of Commerce.
- be of significance to the Chamber’s membership;
- be timely;
- be specific and actionable, (can be impacted by the actions and initiatives of the Chamber and its partners);
- have a direct relationship to the Chamber’s vision, mission, values, goals and priorities;
- be clear and understandable.
For the Chamber to effectively develop policy and advocate for it to be implemented, it must follow a series of sequential steps. These are:
1. Identify the issue (Advocacy Committee)
a. Describe the issue
2. Understand the issue
a. Scale of the issue?
b. Is the issue of current or future interest?
c. Can the Chamber potentially influence the outcome?
d. What parties are to be influenced e.g. politicians, business community?
e. Type of advocacy required?
3. Research the issue
a. What data is required to understand the issue prior to taking action?
The Environmental scan is a constant process that involves but is not limited to member input, media monitoring, board input, annual surveys, and input from partner organizations.
The issues are constantly assessed by board and staff for their relevance to the business interest. If a clear connection cannot be made to the business community, the issue is not addressed further. The issue may be monitored or referred to other organizations but the Chamber will not pursue policy development.
In the event an issue does affect business, initial research is conducted. This initial research normally involves contacting the party who drew attention to the issue and determining the scope of business affected. The complexity of the issue is estimated and a review of existing policy in the Chamber and partner organizations is conducted.
The information gathered during initial research is discussed and the following criteria are used to determine if further policy work should be conducted and resources committed to significant policy research. The criteria include considerations such as:
- fit with chamber priorities;
- fit with existing chamber policy;
- fit with business principles;
- scope of businesses affected;
- evaluation as to partner activity;
- Is the Chamber the best organization to take on this issue?
- complexity of the issue;
- What resources are required to research a policy solution?
- the likelihood of success.
4. Develop the policy (or position)
a. Define the issue
b. Define the impact on the Prince George business community
c. Define the ask/recommendation i.e. make it specific, tangible and measurable. Note: a request for ‘support’ will not yield results and is effectively a waste of our limited time
5. Board Approval
a. Policy review is conducted by the policy committee and the Board of Directors. The policy is amended until it is approved or rejected by the Board of Directors.
b. Policies approved by the Board are kept in the policy binder and posted to the chamber website. The approval of policies will be listed as a motion in the board minutes.
6. Communicate the policy (or position)
a. Decide on the most appropriate means to communicate the position in a compelling manner
- letter writing
- in-person meetings
- media releases / interviews
- news articles
- public / member information sessions
- political candidate forums
b. Communicate the position to the recipient(s)
7. Program the follow-up e.g. scheduled, consistent, constant, and log the outcome once achieved
8. Evaluate Situation
a. Once the policy is created and the initial communication process is conducted the situation is evaluated. In particular the response from the decision- making authority is considered as compared to the scope of businesses affected. The chamber can only actively advocate on a handful of issues at any one time so only a very few undergo active advocacy. The circumstances regarding the policy are monitored and if circumstances change, active advocacy may be reinitiated. A policy will continue to be part of the chamber’s policy portfolio until success is achieved or the policy is rescinded by the Board of Directors.