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The international community

The Policy Project has built links to its counterparts in other jurisdictions, particularly Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Australian policy professionals

There are more than 7000 policy advisors in the Australian Public Service. Their vision is to work together to deliver great policy advice to create better outcomes for all Australians. A cross-agency team was set up in 2018 to support the delivery of great policy advice. The team works with policy professionals and through networks to test thinking and to try new approaches and ways of working.

They have an online Policy Hub to support people to deliver great policy advice. It includes a growing number of tools, processes, best practice methodologies, and learning opportunities sourced from across the Australian Public Service and beyond. Keep an eye out for resources from New Zealand’s own Policy Project when exploring the Australian Policy Hub.

They have also co-designed with practitioners a model of great policy advice. It defines the four core elements that make up great policy advice and the underpinning foundations for readiness that need to be in place.

Canadian policy community

The Canadian policy community is an inclusive and cross-functional community comprising policy-makers from across departments and agencies. Their common purpose is to be modern, relevant and responsive in how they work to address the needs of Canadians. A small Policy Community Partnership Office was set up in 2017 to help deliver supports for the policy community.

They have what’s called ‘The Conference-in-a-Box’, which provides materials to help people organise a mini-conference with colleagues on policy-making topics, such as how might we rethink the policy cycle. ‘The Conference-in-a-Box’ is designed for practising, learning, and sparking conversations about policy-making. The materials include recordings from Canada’s annual policy community conference.

Canada also has a collection of articles on new policy instruments and approaches. Here you can find information on some of the newer policy approaches and examples of applying these in a government context. They also offer a cross-functional policy mobility program for public servants in Canada to experience and understand all aspects of the policy cycle.

United Kingdom Policy Profession

The United Kingdom Policy Profession is part of the Civil Service and is made up of over 18,000 civil servants working in the United Kingdom who recognise themselves as policy professionals.

Like New Zealand, our UK counterparts have a Head of the Policy Profession and a framework for describing a professional development pathway called the Policy Profession Standards. The Policy Profession Standards describe the full breadth of knowledge needed by a good policy-maker, covering 18 skill and knowledge areas under three themes – evidence, politics, and delivery.

The standards provide a guide for personal, professional and career development and set out three levels of capability:

  • Level 1 – Identify and attain the working-level knowledge required to operate effectively in a policy environment.
  • Level 2 – Progress from awareness to an active demonstration of policy-making skills.
  • Level 3 – Demonstrate you are fully competent at a high level in the relevant skills and also a leader of exemplary behaviours across the Civil Service.

The UK Policy Profession has a professional development programme that supports learning opportunities in the Policy Profession Standards. The core curriculum is set out in a yearly Prospectus and provides a mix of online learning modules and face-to-face courses and workshops. The UK Policy Profession also offers an apprenticeship programme for those looking to start a career in policy or who are in the early stages of their career.

UK Policy Lab

The UK Policy Lab is a small team set up in 2014 as part of the Civil Service Reform plan to make policy-making more open. The team sits within the Cabinet Office but serves the whole of government, primarily responding to requests from policy teams.

It uses design, data, and digital tools, and acts as a testing ground for policy innovation across government. The UK Lab’s support is best suited to tackling intractable, complex, systemic policy problems that require fresh thinking and can lead to potentially transformative solutions.

You can read about the work of the UK Policy Lab and see its Open Policy Making Toolkit.

Last updated: 
Monday, 4 July 2022

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