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About the Policy Project team

The Policy Project

The Policy Project team supports the Head of the Policy Profession to fulfill his role of building a high performing policy system across the public service. That includes supporting the Policy Profession Board, Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network and Policy Capability leads, and acting as a catalyst for change.

How we work

Our work programme focuses on building a high performing policy system that supports and enables good government decision making. It is co-developed with policy practitioners from across government and championed by the Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network (deputy chief executives with policy responsibilities). This is consistent with our approach of impact through influence.

The approach of the policy project team

The Policy Project facilitates the policy community to:

  • identify and share good practice
  • build collective ownership of the policy system, and a programme of improvement activities
  • encourage and facilitate collective approaches to improving performance or policy capability where it makes sense
  • co-develop new products, tools and resources to improve the performance of the policy function and quality of policy advice across government.

Our breadth of work has included:

  • supporting agencies to use our frameworks and other products

  • building capability in policy methods, free and frank advice, and policy stewardship

  • building and maintaining an active policy community

  • exposing the policy community to new ideas and experts

  • supporting the Head of the Policy Profession, the Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network, and the Functional Leads Collective

  • contributing to substantive policy development, where relevant – for example, the public service reforms and Open Government Partnership commitments

  • intervening at the system level to foster a higher performing policy advice system – for example, to address common policy workforce challenges and skill areas for development.

The Policy Project is available to run workshops for teams or agencies on its tools and frameworks, the characteristics of good policy advice, and how to build policy skills and organisational capability. Examples of our tailored workshops include good commissioning, peer review, risk analysis, and sessions for new graduates on ‘what is policy advice?’ Check out our pages on How the Policy Project can help you and Ways to connect to the policy community.

The Policy Project regularly hosts roundtable sessions for senior leaders on topics of interest, best practice, and international developments. These events are usually recorded in conversation trackers by subject. Use our search tool to find subjects you are interested in learning more about.

Interim evaluation of the Policy Project

In late 2021, the Head of the Policy Profession decided that the Policy Project was at an appropriate point in its life to undergo an interim evaluation. This took into account that senior policy leaders supporting the Policy Project’s establishment in 2014 envisaged the major culture change needed to improve the policy system would take around a decade – till at least 2024.

Allen + Clarke Policy and Regulatory Specialists were commissioned to undertake the interim evaluation, from March to September 2021.


The purpose of the interim evaluation was to:

  • determine the extent to which the Policy Project is contributing to improvement in policy capability and the quality of policy advice across the public service
  • inform growth and learning for the Policy Project and the policy system
  • demonstrate and communicate the Policy Project’s achievements .


The evaluation used a systems lens, exploring the Policy Project’s contribution to enhancing the policy quality and capability of individuals, agencies, networks and the policy system. The evaluation was undertaken in collaboration with the Policy Project, the Policy Profession Board and the Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network.

During the evaluation, the Allen + Clarke team:

  • interviewed 78 people, from graduate policy advisors to chief executives, and held focus groups with staff in 16 public service agencies.
  • reviewed web page use, service delivery data, and over 70 Policy Project documents.


Allen + Clarke found that the Policy Project’s resources were seen by the policy community as being high quality and relevant, but that more needed to done to raise awareness of the Policy Project, and to reflect the evolving nature of policy making in Aotearoa. Allen + Clarke made eight recommendations for change, ranging from better marketing of the Policy Project to developing system-wide metrics to measure policy quality and maturity.

Next steps

The Policy Profession Board accepted all the interim evaluation recommendations in principle. The Policy Project has been commissioned to develop a series of papers for the Policy Profession Board to enable decisions on how best to implement the recommendations. We're consulting with the Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network and the Policy Capability Leads’ Group during the development process. When decisions have been made on how to make progress on implementing all the recommendations, we’ll publish the full interim evaluation report and a summary of our response.



Last updated: 
Wednesday, 16 March 2022

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