Delivering Great Policy
What is policy?
Government policy is the basic agreed principles by which government is guided. The APS provides policy advice to Government decision makers, to equip them with the information they need to make the best possible decision.
It’s how decisions are made about the things that affect our lives; from big issues like how we will manage health care at a federal level, to micro decisions such as stocking healthy food in hospital vending machines.
If you’re looking for an official definition, the Australian Policy Handbook (Althaus, Bridgman, Davis) defines policy as:
A statement of government intent, and its implementation through the use of policy instruments.
The Australian Policy Handbook outlines the stages involved in policy development - the Policy Cycle. The model for delivering great policy advice focuses on the Advice stage of this cycle.
The mindsets that underpin delivering great policy advice
We’re already delivering great policy advice, but not as consistently as we’d like. And as the policy challenges we’re faced with become increasingly more complex and interrelated, we need a more adaptive mindset.
- Humble - We have expertise, but we don’t have all the answers. We can’t solve everything on our own.
- Proactive - We develop policy options ahead of being asked for them – being proactive and ready to respond.
- Curious - We are interested in the evolving issues, and new approaches as they emerge.
- Timely - We see timeframes as a boundary rather than a constraint. We work smarter rather than harder, and can deliver great policy advice in any time frame.
- Collaborative - We involve those affected by the policy, not just to tell them what we’re doing, but to also get their input into the best way to go about it.
- Consider the wider context - We understand how policy issues are linked, and work together across government to solve problems.
- Adaptive - We avoid the approach that one size fits all, ensuring our approach, advice and solutions are appropriate to the context.
- Practical - We test and iterate possible solutions to make sure our policies will work in the real world.
Delivery Great Policy Model
This is the model for Great Policy Advice.
It was co-designed with over 180 people inside and outside the APS, and outlines the elements of great policy advice.
These elements are not new, but articulating them in a model gives us a common language and a framework to align around. It helps us keep what's important front of mind, so we can deliver the best quality advice within the context.