This article considers contemporary debates in Scotland that are concerned with the design and implementation of land use development plan 'policies that work'. The interest in developing a resource bank of model policy texts is illustrative of the wider agenda to modernize the public sector and to secure efficiency gains in public policy making. On the one hand, this is presented as strengthening policy makers' ability to achieve stated policy outcomes, and to enforce particular policy objectives in the public interest. On the other hand, it is argued that a more uniform and consistent policy context across Scotland would offer a more certain operating environment for developers and users of the planning service. The discussion considers the diversity of land use planning topics identified as potentially appropriate for formulation as a model policy, and proposes a typology for critically interrogating their suitability in practice.