Private prisons: Are they really cheaper, better and more accountable?

Victoria has recently committed to spending a whole lot more on prisons and corrections to accommodate its growing prison population. As Deirdre O’Neill, Valarie Sands and Graeme Hodge of Monash University report, Victoria relies more heavily on privatised prisons than anywhere else in the country, but lack of transparency makes it frustratingly difficult to tell whether privatisation has delivered on its promises of cheaper, better and more accountable. This post is based on their recent article in the Australian Journal of Public Administration.

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The academic-practitioner divide in public management: and how to bridge it

In this post, Professor Jenny Stewart and Dr Fiona Buick from the Public Service Research Group reflect on the ever-present divide between academics and practitioners in public policy. They present a number of strategies to bridge the gap and provide the foundation for academics to undertake research that generates outcomes for both researchers and policymakers.

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What Australians think about poverty - and how it can change (part 2)

Maiy Azize explains the important lessons of Anglicare Australia ‘s recent study of attitudes towards welfare and poverty for how anti-poverty advocates can use language effectively. Boldly stating our support for all people in poverty, as well as focussing on their strength and resilience are two key recommendations.

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RAMP-ing up responses to radicalisation in our communities: effective pathways to engagement.

Post-Christchurch, our leaders must reinvigorate their responses to radicalisation in our communities. Deb Cleland and Valerie Braithwaite (ANU) introduce the RAMP framework for behaviour change to help understand community organisations’ responses to radicalisation. The RAMP framework suggests that behaviour change can be facilitated by: Rewards, Awareness, Motivation and Pathways. 

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A Coalition Government and the fate of the NDIS

Despite being our largest and most complex social policy reform, the NDIS didn’t receive much attention in the recent election campaign until its close. We could read something into this about how political parties think the NDIS plays with the electorate, but irrespective of political perceptions and prioritising the fact remains that the NDIS affects the lives of not just its 460 000 participants, but their families, carers, and more than 35 00 workers.

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Does tree-shaking work? Evidence based policy and welfare conditionality

This article from Dr Simone Casey explores why Australia’s Mutual Obligation requirements are so demanding and whether this is based on evidence about what works. It asks why critical research evidence has not received more attention from Australia ‘s activation policy makers. She argues that lack of engagement with critical social research is a limitation which hampers social justice efforts and reflects disregard for social suffering, and says there is plenty of room for stronger engagement with participatory policy design approaches. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

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We need tomorrow’s teachers today

Is Australia’s education system adequately developing our children for the jobs of the future? Incept Labs’ Dr Robert Kay argues that under the current system, our children will not prepared for the next wave of workforce changes that the World Economic Forum’s Professor Klaus Schwab has dubbed the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’ His solution? Education 3.0 and a new mindset for the teachers of tomorrow.

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Why government agencies forget

Scholars have, for decades, suggested that organisational amnesia can negatively impact the effectiveness of government agencies. So why do they forget? Maria Katsonis has summarised the findings of Alastair Stark (University of Queensland) for why public institutions may be unable - or unwilling - to access and/or use past experiences to help deliver better public outcomes.

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