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Developing quality policy advice in the lead up to developing Cabinet policy proposals

Issue date: 
Monday, 9 October 2017
Issue status: 
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Version note: 

This publication is part of the CabGuide.


“Advice given to Ministers must be honest, impartial, and include all relevant information. It must also be responsive to the priorities determined by the government of the day. Advice should be free and frank, and acknowledge any key information gaps, assumptions, risks or connections to other matters. This will allow Ministers to take decisions based on the best available evidence and appreciation of all the options and issues.”

The Policy Project was established in 2014 to improve the quality of policy advice across government. Their first phase of work produced the following frameworks, to help government agencies understand what great policy advice is and deliver it:

  • Policy Quality Framework describes the key characteristics of quality policy advice (what good looks like), as well as the ‘enablers’ of great advice (like considering multiple perspectives, good commissioning, quality assurance processes and work planning)
  • Policy Skills Framework sets out the knowledge, applied skills and behaviour modern policy professionals require to produce quality policy advice - from new professionals developing their policy craft to seasoned experts at the top of their game
  • Policy Capability Framework describes the key components of agency capability. You can use the policy capability framework to test your agency's policy capability. The framework offers ‘lines of inquiry’ and potential indicators to review and build overall organisational capability to produce quality policy advice.

All three frameworks were co-designed for and by the policy community and have been endorsed for use by the Head of Policy Profession and the Tier 2 Policy Leaders Network.

The Policy Project has also implemented the first phase of a Policy Methods Toolbox, which is a repository of policy development methods that can help you, as a policy practitioner, identify and select the right approach for your policy initiative. The first release of the Toolbox is focused on newer methods:

  • Start right:  tools to help you get a policy project off to a good start, via effective policy development commissioning, project initiation and project management
  • Behavioural insights: tools for drawing on the insights gained from the study of human behaviour, including empirical research in fields including economics, psychology and sociology
  • Design thinking: tools for human-centred design, co-design and participatory design, which are focusing on solutions (starting with a goal of a better future rather than a problem to solve)
  • Public participation: engaging individuals and groups in the process of policy design and development, including the provision of information, consultation, collaboration and participatory decision-making.

Refer to these pages for more information


Last updated: 
Monday, 5 June 2017

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