We are forward looking and learn from the past. We actively seek multiple and diverse perspectives including from those affected by the policy, so we have a robust evidence-base.
- Been informed by evidence both quantitative and qualitative.
- Developed your policy in collaboration with people affected by the policy.
- Involved key stakeholders within and outside the APS
- Incorporated lessons learned from the past.
- Considered the wider context the policy will exist within, now and into the future.
- Cherry-picked the evidence.
- Involved limited perspectives.
- Drawn only on quantitative data.
- Created your advice in a bubble.
What does it mean to be Well Informed
We’re often very good at finding and using data and academic research to inform our advice. Being well informed means going beyond this, to include the voices of the people who will be affected by the policy.
Being informed by evidence both qualitative and quantitative
Reviewing quantitative data is usually our first port of call. It’s clean and it’s clear and it’s often easy to find. While it’s important, it doesn’t paint the full picture. Quantitative data can tell you what’s happening, qualitative research can tell you why it’s happening. And understanding why is vital to coming up with effective options that will meet the intended outcomes.
Developing your policy in collaboration with people affected by the policy
So often policy is created without having in some way engaged the people it will impact. Maybe we think we already know their needs, or we don’t have time, or it won’t change anything, or it’s too risky. Are they reasons, or excuses? Policy that is developed collaboratively with end users and industry is often going to be more effective, better received, and both quicker and cheaper in the long run. Unless the policy is sensitive, there is usually some way to learn more about those who will be affected by the policy and bring them into the policy advice process.
Involving key stakeholders within and outside the APS
Broadening our stakeholder network can only improve your ability to give well rounded policy advice. Working with people from across and outside the APS can bring different perspectives and approaches to the policy. They may have expertise you don’t have, whether it be emerging trends or new technologies, specialised industry experience or different approaches. Having regular engagement with key stakeholders means when a rapid response is required, and you don’t have time for all the steps, you have robust information you can draw on.
Incorporating lessons learned from the past
This is about not reinventing the wheel. Why would we want to make the same mistakes someone else has already made, or not learn from their successes? There’s a rich history of policy making in Australia and around the world; it’s almost certainly not the first time someone has thought about what you’re doing. Try and find those stories and see what you can learn.
Considering the wider context the policy will exist within, now and into the future
Nobody’s saying we need to predict the future. But it’s a critical part of our role to look beyond the immediate situation to the bigger picture. We need to connect with those working on related policy, and seek to understand what else will be happening in the context the policy will be released into.