Submit Event

ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Policy processes for practitioners: an introduction

Two-and-a-half-day course


20th September 2016
22nd September 2016


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy



This introductory workshop will give you a comprehensive overview of the core elements required in policy development, including policy frameworks, the importance of evidence-informed analysis, finance and budgeting, and effective policy communication.

Course overview

The Policy Processes course is specifically designed to introduce public servants with limited policy experience, and also those outside government, to how public policy is developed and communicated at the national level in Australia.

This two-and-a-half-day workshop starts at the beginning of the policy process. It covers how policy is made 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 workshop will explore how policy issues are identified and how policy analysis is conducted, highlighting the importance of the Budget cycle in policy development. You will look at what evidence-based policy is, where it has been successfully used and why it can seem so hard to do, drawing on a range of social policy case studies in health and education reform, Indigenous policy, income support and gun reform. You will be involved in a longer exercise to gain practical insights into the challenges of making evidence-informed policy. The course will also extend your capacity to critique and communicate evidence as a key tool in policy development and program implementation.

Day 3 will begin with discussion of the major policy instruments that are available to governments when they seek to intervene and the role of behavourial economics techniques for improving policy outcomes. You will explore the conditions that enable some policy actions to succeed while others fail, illustrated through specific case studies of government interventions.

The final section of the workshop will be concerned with best practices in policy communication. By the end of the course, you will better understand how to foster inter-agency support through effective communication during policy development. You will see how detractors and opponents will use the media to criticize or punish poor policies and learn how to optimize the communication of good policy in the media and public arena.

The course will be conducted by an ensemble of accomplished presenters with extensive academic, communications and practitioner experience, and will include case studies, media clips and practical exercises.

Course convenor

Dr Trish Mercer

With over 20 years’ experience as an SES officer (1989-2010) in Commonwealth central and line public service departments, Trish Mercer is highly experienced in policy and program formulation. From 2003 to 2010, Trish worked in the Department of Education, Science and Training and its successor the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, undertaking senior roles in early childhood, schools and student income support and also running for three years the department’s research, analysis and evaluation area.

Trish also had hands-on service delivery experience from 1996 to 2003 as a member of the SES team responsible for establishing the Commonwealth’s joined up service delivery agency Centrelink. As Area Manager, she had direct responsibility for some 1,000 staff in offices across Central and North Queensland and gained extensive experience in delivering innovative services in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous communities.

Trish is now a Visiting Fellow in the Australian and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) at ANU. Her research projects include early childhood, schools reforms and public policy innovation, and she is involved in running public policy workshops in Commonwealth departments.

Course date:
12.30–4.30pm 20 September 2016
9.30am–4.30pm 21 September 2016
9.30am–4.30pm 22 September 2016
Venue: Crawford School, ANU
Enrol: T 02 6125 2154 E
Cost: $2,750 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

Press Ctrl+C to copy