Welcome to Policy Essentials! This short course is intended to provide BC public servants with an introduction to the topic of public policy. This course will provide you with a basic understanding of: public policy; the phases of policy development; and, the attributes and skills to be successful in a policy role.

Learning Objectives

This course is designed to build on: GOV 101: Government Essentials which provides detailed information on the structure of government and the role of public servants; and, to provide foundational knowledge for future learning related to policy development. Courses on Policy and Government can be found at: Learning in the BC Public Service:

By the end of this course, you can expect to be able to:

  • define public policy.
  • recognize factors that influence the public policy environment.
  • recognize what policy analysis is and the role of policy analysts.
  • identify phases of the policy development cycle.
  • recognize the skills and attributes to be an effective policy analyst.

Target Audience

This course has been designed for:

  • Employees in the orientation phase of their role as a policy analyst.
  • Employees interested in working in policy development.

Employees engaged in policy development work are referred to as policy analysts throughout this course. It is acknowledged however, that policy development work is undertaken by staff with various titles and positions across the BC Public Service.


This course is presented as an interactive website, which will allow you to actively engage in your learning experience. We recommend visiting each module/page in sequential order (via the top menu or the arrows at the bottom of the page) however, you are able to jump directly to any specific module, should you wish.

Note: Please report any broken links to: AskMyHR.

The course is divided into five modules, along with a Resources section.

These modules are:

  • Public Policy Defined.
  • The Policy Environment.
  • Policy Analysis.
  • Policy Development Phases.
  • Working in Policy.

About this course

  • Identify the issue and define the desired objective or outcome

    There are activities for each section/page of this course. For at least one activity, you may wish to have a pen and paper handy to jot down your response.

  • Identify the issue and define the desired objective or outcome

    This course has been designed to also be viewable on mobile equipment (cell phones, tablets, etc.).

  • Identify the issue and define the desired objective or outcome

    The course includes videos, animations and audio portions, and transcripts are provided. If you are taking this course in a public area – you may wish to use a headset/headphones to avoid disrupting others.

  • Identify the issue and define the desired objective or outcome

    Review of this course, including activities, should take approx. one hour. Enjoy the course !