Civic engagment in urban politics
A briefing note is a short paper that summarizes the most salient issues into an easy to read document. In real-life
policy debates, stakeholders require concise, reliable, and up-to-date information on issues that they are
confronting in order to achieve their intended policy goals. Briefing notes are required by managers in order to
make informed decisions about developing or unforeseen issues. In the public sector, briefings notes are a key
form of communications between departmental/ministerial staff and elected officials.
Building on the ideas and research that you completed for the Stakeholder Map, you will draft a two-page briefing
note about your chosen topic. Please include your references on a separate page.
Presume that you are a staff person in one of the stakeholder categories below and that you are drafting this
briefing note for your direct supervisor who has been invited to speak about your issue live on television.
A government agency or department
An office of an elected official
A non-governmental organization
A briefing note would commonly include but is not limited to the following sections; Purpose/Issue,
Summary/Background, Current Status, Options, Risks, and Recommendations/Conclusions.
Things to consider:
Strive to use plain language, as the briefing note must be easy to read and understand. Assume the
reader has lay knowledge about the issue.
Only include the most relevant and critical information.
Carefully consider the options that you select for recommendation.
Diagrams may be used, but are not required.
Some useful resources: