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Green Light

Start Right Green Light

The Start Right Green Light records the agreement to formally commence a policy project, the initial policy question and the approach to policy development.

It's also known as policy initiation, project mandate, project initiation or policy start-up.

On this page:

Why you should use it
What it involves
What you will get out of it
Ideal circumstances for use
References, guides and key readings

Why you should use it

Green Light:

  • results in an agreed starting point for a policy project that gives direction and clarity to all policy project team members
  • is flexible to various policy project situations
  • supports improved project management throughout.

What it involves

  • A Green Light is the agreement to formally start a policy project, capturing the main parameters in a way that is clear and easily understandable by anyone who might be involved with the project. The Green Light covers both content and process.
  • In the Start Right approach, the Green Light is developed on the basis of a Commissioning Conversation and the results of the Exploration stage.
  • The Green Light should be revisited to ensure that the assumptions and parameters remain accurate. It can then be updated accordingly.
  • The Green Light plays a similar role to a project initiation document for larger projects, but is scalable to suit smaller projects.
  • There are many ways a Green Light can be documented – it can range from an email to a formal project initiation document within an agency’s project management workflow. 

What you will get out of it

You'll be starting your policy project with agreed parameters for success agreed, including:

  • project outcomes and objectives, key deliverables and timeframes, and the approach you will take to achieve them
  • resource requirements and the responsibility of all contributing parties
  • how the project will be governed and managed, and how decisions will be made.

Ideal circumstances for use

After having performed some initial analysis of key parameters (whether through the Start Right approach or otherwise), and you have broad agreement on the starting point for your policy development project.


There is no single best way to document your approach to policy development. As such, the Green Light approach requires customisation to fit in different agency practices – it is not a template that can be filled out.

References, guides and key readings

Start Right 

Start Right Green Light Framework 

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Last updated: 
Wednesday, 16 August 2017

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