Information on how to create policy briefings that adhere to our style and standards.

A policy briefing should have clear and realistic recommendations for action. It will be published as a downloadable PDF with a short online introduction.

Length

Policy briefings can be up to 1,500 words.

To help keep the word count down, if supporting or background information has already been published elsewhere, reference it or link to it rather than repeat it.

Think about whether it is possible, or indeed desirable, to present some of the content as a graphic.

Structure

Policy briefings must be useful for our audience. They must provide clear and realistic recommendations for policy summarised in a list and expanded with supporting evidence. We suggest that there are no more than five recommendations.

These questions may help you to structure the briefing:

  • What is the policy issue? Why is it critical?
  • What are the implications of the current policy or lack of policy?
  • What needs to change and why?
  • How does it need to change? And who should be involved?

Language

Use clear and direct language so you can present information in a straightforward way. 

Remember that the audience may be diverse; it will include academics and practitioners. They may not be familiar with the exact field in which you work so try to avoid jargon, specialist terminology and acronyms.

Style  

We use British English for spelling; the Style Guide indicates some preferred terms, spellings, acronyms and capitalisation. It also has guidance on formatting text, using web links and creating document files.

Title  

The title should help readers to decide if the briefing is relevant to them so should indicate the specific topic or issue that you address.

References and links  

Try to keep references to a minimum.

Links to open access journals are preferred but if the article is not available, then please still provide the hyperlink as we can include it with an indication that accessing it may require payment.

Images and graphics

Displaying data in a graph or chart is welcome as long as it is not too complex or overloaded. If you wish we are happy to discuss the best way to create the graphic from the raw data.  

An image isn’t necessary though if you have an idea in mind we can discuss it and try to source an appropriate image. We will need to check the copyright and permissions on images to ensure that they can be used and what attributions are required.

Accessibility

We must ensure that any relevant information in images is available in another formats, such as alt text for information-carrying images such as graphs and charts.

When using web links in documents we will include the link written in full so that if the document is read in printed form the link is still accessible.

Biography

We will include a byline with your name, position or title and your organisation, a short biography and a link to your online biography/profile and social media feeds. If appropriate, we’ll include organisational logos and links.

Please supply this information with your submission.