Policy issues can be divided into two categories: those already on the public policy agenda, and those that are not. If an issue is already on the public-policy agenda, it has a sufficiently high profile, and a formal process to elaborate further on it is likely to be in place. If an issue is not on the public-policy agenda electronic tools (among other channels) can be used to identify them quickly.
Typically a policy issue will come up appear and remain on the public policy agenda when it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Large number of people involved
- Impact / Magnitude
- Time (it has been an issue over a long period)
According to Ann Macintosh in the agenda setting the need for a policy or a change in policy has to be established. In addition the problem concerned has to be defined. This problem may arise as a result in changes in development or in the government. The active participation of citizen, civil servants and companies allows them todetermine possible agenda items. (Ann Macintosh, 2004)