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ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Policy processes for practitioners: an introduction

Two and a half-day short course


4th April 2017
-6th April 2017


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy



This course will explain the policy process, including how policy issues are identified and analysed and how policy decisions are reached and communicated.

Course overview

The workshop starts with explaining how policy is made at the national level, highlighting the centrality of the Budget cycle and the importance of understanding your minister and the government you work for. Participants will be introduced to relevant academic concepts and frameworks that can be of practical use to practitioners operating in today’s complex and often chaotic policy world.

On Day 2, the worship will explore how policy issues are identified, the policy analysis process and the major policy instruments available to government including the role of behavourial economics techniques. Participants will look at what evidence-based policy is, where it has been successfully used and why it can seem so hard to do, as well as how to critique and communicate evidence findings. They will then be involved in a longer exercise to gain practical insights into the challenges of making evidence-informed policy.

Day 3 will begin with a focus on what we can learn from policy successes and failures, drawing on case studies in Indigenous policy, gun reform and environmental policy in order that participants can explore the conditions that enable some policy actions to succeed while others fail.

The final section of the workshop will be concerned with best practices in policy communication. Following this section, participants will better understand how to foster inter-agency support through effective communication during policy development, how detractors and opponents will use the media to criticise or punish poor policies, and how to optimise the communication of good policy in the media and public arena.

Course convenor

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 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 PhD in Geography from Flinders University.

Ms Kristen Connell

Kristen is a former journalist and public relations professional. Today she is a Director of Talkforce Media and Communications Strategists. Talkforce provides public relations support, strategic communications and crisis management advice, and training in media and presentation skills, business and policy writing, and team building.

Course dates: 
12.30–4.30pm 4 April 2017
9.30am–4.30pm 5 April 2017
9.30am–4.30pm 6 April 2017
Venue: #132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: A$3,000 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

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