How can we make sure public policy eco-systems are healthy and robust? A Twitterview of the 2016 Power to Persuade symposium

Thanks to Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand's Women's Research Advocacy & Policy, for putting together these Storify accounts of the 2016 Power to Persuade symposium, held in Melbourne on Monday, 15 August. Click on the links to see a selection of Twitter reports from each session.

First, the overview: The ecological systems of public policy: keeping them open, healthy and sustainable through strategic, multilevel collaboration.

Policy is designed and implemented by highly complex networks of actors. Some of these operate at the ‘institutional’ level, like federal or state governments, large corporations and universities. Others are local actors, such as the community sector or local government. Still other actors work through looser collectives, relationships, and single-issue social action. Conceptually, we can think of these networks as ecosystems – made up of formal and informal relationships and collaborations. At any one time, changes are occurring in different parts of the ecosystem that create ‘ripple’ effects which are felt in other areas. How can we make sure public policy eco-systems are healthy and robust? How can we ensure they are sustainable, and can survive ‘ecological shocks’ (e.g. changes in government and/or policy shifts)? Diverse open systems are healthy systems: collaborations are one way to ensure systems are open - or are they?

Opening session:

Keynote address: How do we work with the paradox of concentration of power in parts of government (particularly the centre) and the development of policy networks? Andrew Tongue, Associate Secretary Indigenous Affairs, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

See also this report on Andrew Tongue's address from The Mandarin's David Donaldson on 'being loved by a 900-pound gorilla'.

Opening address: How does 'Power to Persuade' work to create healthy and sustainable eco-systems? Dr Kathy Landvogt, Head of Women's Research, Advocacy and Policy Centre, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand; Dr Gemma Carey, NHMRC Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Workshop activity: Thinking about networks as complex adaptive systems: Dr Kate Neely, Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne. 

Panel 1: Who governs our policy eco-systems?

Convenor: Paul Smyth, Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne.

Panel: David Tennant, CEO Family Care; Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, Senior Lecturer and Director, Master of Policy and Applied Social Research, Macquarie University; Dr Lesley Russell, Adjunct Associate Professor, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney.

Panel 2: Connecting institutions and local level action

Convenor: Professor Jo Barraket,  Director, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology.

Panel: Professor Evelyne de Leeuw, Director, Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation, University of New South Wales; Dr Graham Brown, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University; Christine Flynn, public sector management consultant; Michael Perusco, CEO, Yarra Community Housing.

Panel 3: What does it take to keep public policy eco-systems healthy?

Convenor: Professor Jo Barraket

Panel: Professor Robyn Keast, Southern Cross University, Brendan Lyon, CEO, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, Honorary Associate Professor, Sydney Business School; Professor Helen Sullivan, Foundation Director, Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne; Sharon Fraser, General Manager, Go Goldfields.