What is a policy memo?

Question 1


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Using your own neighbourhood, imagine you are the neighbourhood representative for the Ministry of National Development. Now that the immediate COVID crisis is being addressed, the Ministry is making plans for enhancing “resilience” in every neighbourhood in Singapore.


As the neighbourhood representative, you have the duty to assess the situation in your community and write a policy memo with your recommendations to the Ministry. You need to explain how your neighbourhood is faring, analyse areas of strength and weakness, and develop proposals for further supporting your area’s resilience.


What is a policy memo? A policy memo is addressed to a specific audience, institution, or individual. In this case, it should be addressed to the Minister of National Development. The memo should provide analysis of the situation and specific recommendations for dealing with issues/challenges. For this assignment, you should address place-making, sustainability, fair practice, inclusivity, and/or governance in your recommendations. Effective memos are focused, well-organized, and succinct.


  • In the introduction, provide relevant background context and identify important socio-cultural and economic aspects of your neighbourhood.


  • Discuss relevant quantitative data (such as statistics, demographics) and/or qualitative data (such as quotes from accessible interviews) in substantiating your position.


  • Analyse how members of your community including individuals, groups, and/or businesses faced challenges posed by the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker and the imposition of social distancing measures in 2020.


  • Referring to concepts in the Study Guide, develop thoughtful and creative proposals to continue supporting strengths in your neighbourhood while also addressing weaknesses / challenges to increase neighbourhood resilience in the case of future pandemic emergencies.


  • For this report, you need to demonstrate that all the information you use is based on reliable sources. All references should be properly cited and in APA style.



Student Notes


This is an exercise in writing a policy memo. A policy memo should take into account the following:

  • You should know your audience. The memo should be addressed to the Minister of National Development.
  • You should have clear sections in the memo for introduction and background context, observations and analysis of issues, conclusions and recommendations, and possible implementation issues/challenges.
  • You should provide clear evidence to support your overall position and main claims. Evidence can take many forms including your own field observations, information from reports or other studies, pictures, and graphs.
  • Writing should be clear, concise, persuasive, and professional.


References are expected to be included in the memo. You are encouraged to include images, graphs and charts that are relevant to the analysis.


For this assignment 1500 words is the absolute maximum word count. Whatever is beyond 1500 words will not be marked. References are not counted in the word count for this assignment. You should write the word count at the end of the memo.