A memorandum is a written report that is prepared for a person or committee in order to provide them with information about a particular matter.
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A memorandum can also be regarded as a short official note that is sent by one person to another within the same company or organization.
PURPOSE OF MEMORANDUM
The primary purpose of a memorandum is to support decision making – to “help (or sometimes influence) a decision-maker to make a better decision in a particular problem situation than he might otherwise have made without the analysis”. Other purposes that the briefing note can serve include: conveying information; informing decisions, making a request, providing a response to a question, making a suggestion, presenting an informal report, proposing a solution to a problem, or documenting a reference for future use.
Structure of memorandum
As the communication mechanism of the policy analysis process, the memorandum should provide a coherent synopsis of a policy problem, identify different policy options for addressing the problem, articulate opposing perspectives and advocate a recommended option. The typical structure for a memorandum includes: a description of the proposed policy; relevant background information; a discussion of key considerations (including implementation concerns, financial considerations, stakeholder impacts, and possible unanticipated consequences), a summary of arguments for and against the policy and a recommended decision. Policy documents that start with a proposal and assemble an argument that position are more accurately referred to as a government white paper. A government green paper which raises a policy option and is meant to open a dialogue on the proposal is more similar in tone to a briefing note than is a white paper.
TIPS TO WRITING A MEMORANDUM
- You should write memorandum letters in a brief and simple way. Be direct with the information you are sharing. Memos do not usually exceed a paragraph or two and is usually just bulleted list of information.
- If it is a formal memo that is issued, the first part of the paragraph should state the purpose of the memorandum and then proceed to enlist additional information.
- Maintain a professional tone and use easy-to-understand language in writing the memorandum, it is meant to be read by a number of people. Keep in mind that you should not include any personal statements.