Introduction to delivering great policy

The Delivering 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.

The model for delivering great policy

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Clear on intent

We are clear on the policy intent and what our role is, so our advice is relevant and focused on the outcome we’re trying to achieve.

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Well informed

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.

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Practical to implement

We work with those involved in implementation and try out multiple options, so we have a practical solution and a plan for evaluation.

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The right people have been engaged along the way, and your advice is tailored to the audience and context so it has the best chance of landing well.

The foundations for readiness

Foundations for readiness

These are the foundations we need to have in place so we are ready to respond when opportunities arise. These things have to change from the way we operate today, in order for us to deliver great policy advice.


“I am enabled to...”

This means leadership that supports and encourages working together as one APS, questioning and trying things out.


“I want to...”

This means approaching our work with curiousity and humility instead of always being the expert; and working smarter within constraints.


“I know how...”

This means expanding our skillset beyond deep subject matter expertise, to be more collaborative and influential.

Tools and processes

“I have what I need...”

This means having access to information and resources; and continuously improving the way we do things.

How the model fits with formal processes

The model for great policy advice fits within a broader policy context in the APS. There are also formal processes you may need to follow. This includes at minimum:

The model for great policy advice doesn’t replace any of these things. It’s about focusing our efforts, so the advice we feed into those processes is best placed to create better outcomes for all Australians.

particularly when making Cabinet submissions and providing advice to Cabinet Ministers.
particularly when you are seeking funding for your policy.
Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) & Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)
for the policy proposals with major impacts on business, individuals and the community.
particularly when legislation is required to implement Government policy.

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.


We have expertise, but we don’t have all the answers. We can’t solve everything on our own.


We develop policy options ahead of being asked for them – being proactive and ready to respond.


We are interested in the evolving issues, and new approaches as they emerge.\


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.


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.


We avoid the approach that one size fits all, ensuring our approach, advice and solutions are appropriate to the context.


We test and iterate possible solutions to make sure our policies will work in the real world.

What is policy?

Government policy is the basic agreed principles by which government is guided.

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.

The APS provides policy advice to Government decision makers, to equip them with the information they need to make the best possible decision.

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.