Every policy memo or brief includes a BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) explanation of the issue. It states the problem in terms specific to the goal of the target audience/decision-maker and directly addresses the decision-maker’s needs in the opening lines.
The structure of the policy brief or memo varies. The most common elements of the policy brief or memo are as follows:
Title – The aim of the title is to catch the attention of the reader and compel him/her to read further.
Executive summary - The aim of the executive summary is a "boiled down" presentation of your memo or brief's main arguments which serves to convince the reader that the issue is worth in-depth investigation. It may be the only section of the memo/brief that the decision-maker reads, so you should make it count. It should contain:
You should write the executive summary last. It should be able to stand on its own to present the most important aspects of your argument.
Background / Context and importance of the problem - The aim in this section is to present the most striking facts or elements of the problem in order to convince your audience that they need to rethink the issue and ultimately change the current policy approach. As such, it usually includes:
Policy Alternatives - The aim of this element is to define the policy options available and identify their pros and cons. This section should be fair and accurate, while convincing the reader why the policy action proposed in the brief is the most desirable.
Policy recommendations - A breakdown of the specific practical steps or measures that need to be implemented.
Appendices (if necessary)
Sources consulted or recommended
Depending on your specific topic and assignment, you might combine sections or break them down into several more specific ones.