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Policy analysis is when the techniques have been provided to assess the policy options and then recommending the appropriate plan of action to achieve the organizational, social, economic, or political goals that have been set. Analysis also provides us a way to examine the existing policies on how we can recommend improvements and modifications (Hall, 2018). The function of policy analysis is that it represents an approach for comparing a range of policy alternatives that already have existing actions in place. This analysis will then become the basis on recommending the course of action for the modification of the policies. When an existing policy is being revised, it is often done in the government, but it can also be done in the private and not-for-profit sectors too (Hall, 2018).
Before any policies can be modified, the government and other organizations will evaluate the policies to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and any area that may need improving (Hall, 2018). The policy analysis uses a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methods when analyzing and the compare the existing policies together by the expected costs and the benefits that the different policy options have. They also consider any political implications like the interests that may have been affected and any groups that are likely to oppose or support any of the various policy changes (Hall, 2018).
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a federal agency that supports policy making through policy analysis. They are the investigative arm for Congress (Beaufort B. Longest, 2016). The GAO is often called the congressional watchdog because they investigate how the federal government spends the taxpayer’s money. This agency advises the Congress and the heads of the executive branch agencies on how to make the government more efficient, effective, equitable, ethical, and responsive (Beaufort B. Longest, 2016). Their mission is to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. The GAO audits and analyzes a host of programs and activities that arise from the implementation of the federal policies (Beaufort B. Longest, 2016).