Posts Categorised: Public Administration

Podcast: Seeing the policy big picture

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“Anyone engaged in policymaking knows that it’s a complex business. But how often do policymakers take the time to think about the number of complex systems that have a bearing on their work? On the latest podcast, Helen Sullivan chats with Deborah Blackman, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, and Datu Buyung Agusdinata about how thinking about the science of systems can lead to better policymaking.”

Source: Policy Forum Pod and available from this link (open access).



Performance Managing Risks in the NSW public sector: Risk culture and capability

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“Senior management communicates the importance of managing risk to their staff, and there are many examples of risk management being integrated into daily activities’, the Auditor-General said. We did find that three of the agencies we examined could strengthen their culture so that all employees feel comfortable speaking openly about risks. To support innovation, senior management could also do better at communicating to their staff the levels of risk they are willing to accept.”

Source: Audit Office of NSW and available from this link (open access).

The Justice Project progress report


“The Justice Project is a comprehensive, national review into the state of access to justice in Australia. The Project focuses on justice barriers facing those with significant social and economic disadvantage, as well as identifying what is working to reduce those barriers. We want to take our access to justice crisis out of the realm of numbers and into the realm of lived experience by understanding how our most vulnerable people experience access to justice issues, and what needs to be done to deliver a fairer, more just system which delivers access to justice in Australia.”

Source: Law Council of Australia and available from this link (open access).


Making sense of evidence: A guide to using evidence in policy


“The handbook helps you take a structured approach to using evidence at every stage of the policy and programme development cycle. Whether you work for central or local government, or the community and voluntary sector, you’ll find advice to help you: understand different types and sources of evidence; know what you can learn from evidence; appraise evidence and rate its quality ; decide how to select and use evidence to the best effect; take into account different cultural values and knowledge systems; be transparent about how you’ve considered evidence in your policy development work.”

Source: Superu (NZ Govt) and available from this link (open access).

Doing Policy Differently

Collins Beach

“For the APS, it means being connectors, interpreters, and navigators. It may also mean being open to citizen juries. This requires a very different approach to collaboration from the traditional approach to policy. This different way of working may mean the APS sometimes plays more of a broker role as a strategic coordinator of policy inputs, and helping to ensure all inputs are fit for purpose, and, in part, to realise the best outcome for the public.”

Source: Presentation by Heather Smith, Secretary of Dept of Industry and Innovation and available from this link (open access).

Avoiding Theoretical Stagnation: A Systematic Review and Framework for Measuring Public Value

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“The current study systematically reviews the growing literature on public value measurement to identify, evaluate, and synthesise available measures. Through a qualitative synthesis of the themes present in published measures, we identify four key components for measuring public value that appear to be important across a range of policy and national contexts. Our review identifies a promising framework that could be used to structure a comprehensive measure of public value and, in doing so, provides a means to progress theoretical development and testing of the public value approach.”

Source: Faulkner, N., & Kaufman, S. (2018). Australian Journal of Public Administration, and available from this link (open access).

Moraitis on the change imperative: navigating the challenge of organisational change


“The Commonwealth’s departmental heads have been increasingly drawn to the transformation of the Australian Public Service: what it should be, where it should go, and how best to get there….The first speech for 2018 from the secretary of the Attorney General’s Department, Chris Moraitis, expanded on this wider discussion with a personal reflection on the lessons of managing organisational change. Or with the metaphor Moraitis prefers: old-school seafaring navigation.”

Source: Moraitis, C. (2018).  Institute for Public Administration Australia, ACT branch. Video 40mins. Available from this link (open access). 

Recipe for disaster: building policy on shaky ground

Native Daphne

“This report tallies the successes and failures of the post-earthquake recovery effort, so we can learn from both to do better next time. The most important way in which government can do better in the next disaster is by providing greater regulatory and policy certainty. Some of that requires better contingency planning before the event. We concur with the auditor-general that a recovery agency should have access to necessary “off the shelf” internal control and operational functions from Day 1. It should not have to develop them from scratch when the urgent and pressing needs are its external activities. Similarly, councils can incorporate disaster contingencies in their longterm plans.”

Source: Wilkinson, B., & Crampton, E.(2018). The New Zealand Initiative and available from this link (open access).

Making the leap: A practical guide to inter-agency collaboration

Kangaroo Paw/PaperMonkey

“Government and community-sector agencies have an equal stake in producing better social services. Many novel policy ideas have come to government from the not-for-profit sector, and there is a long record of governments fostering community-sector innovation. Now, there is an increasing understanding that no single agency can address complex social problems on their own. This has brought about a new interest in how agencies can pool their complementary expertise to design and deliver more effective programs and services.”

Source: Thornton, D., Bryant, D. and Mallett, S. (2018). Melbourne: Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZSOG. Available from this link (open access).

How public inquiries can lead to change


“To ensure public inquiries can lead to real change, the report calls for: government to systematically explain how it is responding to inquiry recommendations ; select committees to examine annual progress updates from government on the state of implementation ; public inquiries to publish interim reports in the months, rather than years, after events ; expert witnesses to be involved in developing the recommendations of inquiries.”

Source: Norris, E. & Shepheard, M. (2017). UK Institute for Government and available from this link (open access).