Why has policy become so important? Why is there so much of a gap between policy promises and outcomes? How can people have an impact on policy? This revised edition of a highly successful text provides an even sharper critical analysis than before in exploring power, decision-making, and the implications for policy. It has been extensively updated and expanded, taking a comparative approach and addressing differences in the meaning and significance of policy in different political traditions. It is a book about policy - not about what governments do ('public policy') or about particular fields of policy (such as 'health policy' or 'education policy') but about policy as a concept - an idea which can be used to make sense of the way in which we are governed, and make a difference to decisions that affect our lives.In clear language, the author addresses the fundamental questions about the place of policy in governing: Who makes policy? Where? Why? What has been written about it? This is a book which is relevant for the student studying the subject, the public official or community activist engaged in making policy, and the interested member of the public who wants to know where policy comes from, and why it matters.