Part Two: Stakeholder Assessment
This section of the paper asks you to engage with the parties responsible for addressing the problem. It involves stakeholders, or entities (e.g., agencies, advocacy groups, employee unions, elected officials) that (a) are in a position to participate in policy decisions; (b) stand to gain or lose something, depending on the outcome of a policy decision (e.g., the clients of a specific agency or the public in general); or (c) can heavily influence the outcome of a policy decision (advocacy groups, community-based organizations, or faith-based groups). Your stakeholder group should include all the relevant parties involved in your problem, not just the ones empowered to address it. That is, if you identified your problem as allegations of police abuse of authority, your stakeholder group must include the police department under investigation.
Identify the relevant parties involved in the issue. Provide the names (and titles) of stakeholders who represent the interests of organizations heavily invested in the current policy debate (such as a member of the New York City Council who has been vocal on the issue of homelessness, the commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services, real estate developers who get tax breaks for building affordable housing). Include one stakeholder that represents affected parties that may otherwise not have a voice in the debate (for example, the Coalition for the Homeless, or another community-based organization serving the homeless). For each stakeholder (there should be a minimum of three), provide the following information:
Describe/define the issue from the stakeholders perspective. An advocacy group for the homeless sees the issue differently than an elected official or a lobbying group for the real estate industry.
Does the stakeholder see the issue as a priority? Is this a pressing issue? Not every stakeholder may see the problem as a high priority (if none of them do, you have selected a poor topic).
Does the stakeholder have close ties to a particular interest group or a constituent group? Identify at least one interest group or constituency that heavily influences the stakeholder’s stance on the issue.
Is the issue under discussion potentially a political liability to an elected official? Is it a potential political windfall? (That is, could it cost the official the possibility of re-election or could it boost her in the eyes of potential voters?)
What does the stakeholder want to see happen? (Answer this question in terms of short-term and long-term outcomes.)
Is the stakeholder’s involvement essential to developing a workable solution to the problem? Can a solution to the problem be arrived at without some sort of buy-in from the stakeholder?