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ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Accelerating your policy development: applying lessons from policy success and failure

One-day short course


17th May 2017


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy



This course draws on practical experience through case studies of major social policy reforms to demonstrate the features of policy success and failure, and to show how sometimes both are evident in the one policy.

Participants will be introduced to both case studies and academic concepts which can assist them to understand how success at times (such as universal preschool) can involve a protracted and fraught process and how policy failures (such as the home insulation program) can offer valuable insights, particularly for implementation. They will identify where in the policy/program design process these types of insights can be used including through risk analysis and in Ministerial briefings.

Course overview

The one day workshop includes:

i.Integrated discussion of relevant academic concepts such as the policy window and the strategic triangle test, and on how the political and policy worlds intersect within the policy process.

ii.Group work on a selection of case studies including unpicking particular policy initiatives to see how and why governments take decisions and how this flows through into implementation actions and consequences, and drawing out learnings on key elements of success and failure for getting policy up and implementing policy.

iii.Group work to understand how to apply these learnings within the processes of developing policy and equally importantly in implementing policy decisions. This will include practical application in core policy processes such as in written briefings for Budget and Cabinet processes and in undertaking risk analyses. It will also include opportunity to consider how they can use it to develop their capacity for critical reflection and for sustaining the pursuit of policy reform over the long term.

Course presenter (s)

Dr Wendy Jarvie

Dr Wendy Jarvie has enjoyed a diverse career, alternating as a government policy practitioner and a researcher. She spent 22 years working in the Australian Public Service, including seven years (2001-2008) as a Deputy Secretary in the Departments of Education, Science and Training and Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. She also managed evaluations and strategy development at the World Bank in Washington between 1998 and 2001.

Wendy has been providing Executive Education classes at ANU since 2012. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the UNSW School of Business in Canberra, where she is undertaking research in governments and early childhood development policies, and the role of evidence, innovation and learning in public policy. She also works for the World Bank in early childhood education in the Pacific.

Wendy is a member of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Audit and Risk Committee (since 2016) and its Independent Evaluation Committee for Australian Aid (since 2012). She is also a member of the NSW government’s Advisory Group for Aboriginal Affairs Research (since 2015). Wendy has three degrees from the University of Newcastle (BA (hons) in History, Diploma of Computer Science, and Masters of Engineering Science), as well as a Ph D in Geography from Flinders University.

Dr Trish Mercer

Trish Mercer is an experienced public policy professional who worked for over 20 years as a senior executive in Commonwealth central agency and line departments. This included senior policy roles in education and employment and in leading research, analysis and evaluation areas, as well as in the delivery of human services. Currently Trish is an ANZSOG Visiting Fellow at ANU, where her research projects include public policy initiatives in the education and employment areas and she engages in public policy teaching through the Crawford School Executive Education program.

Course date: 
9.30am–4.30pm 17 May 2017
Venue: #132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: A$1,350 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

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