Continuing her series of original posts on Australia's employment services system, Dr Simone Casey (@SimoneCasey) explores the implications of outsourced decision-making in social security through the lens of the ParentsNext program. Dr Casey is an affiliate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute (@FutureSocialAU).
You may have noticed at your local common a place for wild flowers, attracting a mobile constellation of bees, butterflies, and a host of minibeasts. Honey bees mean different things to each of us: an excuse to reminisce on childhood crayoning, the producer of that delicious syrup we all enjoy as honey, or a symbol of order and harmony in nature. However, they also serve a critical environmental role as a major fruit and vegetable pollinator. In these days of economic and political uncertainty this may not be foremost in policy makers minds, however, bees are vital for our survival and are a living indicator of the health of our environment. In this post, Gino Abdul-Jabbar suggests with honey bees under threat that we need to direct our individual attention and garner collective policy support for the plight of the humble honey bee.
In the past, the greatest health challenge for young people was to survive childhood. Thankfully, in most of the world this is no longer the case. However, the big health issue now for young people is mental health. Consulting with experts and stakeholders around the world, the Global Youth Mental Health Framework project will provide guidance for funders about the costs of investing, and the costs of not investing, in youth mental health. It also aims to produce a youth mental health care framework that is responsive to local needs, and a toolkit to help communities all over the world advocate for youth mental health services. On International Youth Day, Eóin Killackey outlined a new undertaking to make youth mental health a global priority.
In the wake of reports of service providers' poor conduct towards consumers with cognitive disabilities emerging from the Royal Commission into Banking, the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria and the Essential Services Commission, Dr Yvette Maker and Professor Jeannie Paterson from the University of Melbourne offer two sets of resources here to promote a ‘facilitative’ approach to contracting and consumer transactions for people who have difficulties (or perceived difficulties) with learning, concentrating on, processing, remembering, or communicating information, and/or with decision-making.This piece was originally published by the Consumer Policy Research Centre.
While the Australian Public Service is showing signs of greater gender equality, what can it do to further progress this agenda?
In this feature originally published in The Mandarin, UNSW Canberra’s Dr Sue Williamson outlines some of the key elements and tactics to bring about a more gender-equal public workforce.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occupy a unique position as the first sovereign peoples of Australia. And while governments have been striving to improve their relationships with as well as their abilities to represent and provide services to Indigenous Australians, there is still a long way to go.
In this post, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government’s (ANZSOG) Aurora Milroy discusses why Indigenous values and culture should be embedded in the Australian Public Service (APS), and outlines practical solutions for helping the Commonwealth begin to reset its relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Is Australia getting good return on investment in early childhood education? A report conducted by PwC for the Front Project finds that Australia is getting $2 back for every $1 spent on preschool.
While this statistic is important, Jen Jackson of Victorian University’s Mitchell Institute argues that we need to examine and invest in the complex chain of events that in order for the country to reap the two-for-one return.
This article was originally published in The Conversation.
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System - the first of its kind in Australia - is looking into ‘[accelerating] improvements in access to mental health services, service navigation and models of care.’ One element of the mental health care system, which is often overlooked, is help for informal carers that support those who have mental illness.
In this article originally published in The Conversation, the University of Newcastle’s Jaelea Skehan and Sally Fitzpatrick explain the emotional labour involved in caring, the case for preventing their psychological distress, and the policy setting that government needs to enhance carers’ wellbeing and prevent the onset of mental health issues of their own.
While value creation has long been discussed in the private sector, the concept of value creation by the public sector is largely absent. Until recently there has been no clear role for the public sector to create value itself – the term ‘public value’ does not even exist in economics. However a new paper by Mariana Mazzucato and Josh Ryan-Collins at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose proposes ways that public value can be created using a theory of collective public value creation. This article orginally appeared in The Mandarin and is authored by Maria Katsonis.
Australian policymakers will need to take critical action in response to the care crisis revealed by coverage of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the lead up to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Laura Davy (@LauraKDavy) from the Public Service Research Group, UNSW Canberra, discusses how feminist ethics and feminist economics can inform workforce investment strategies into the future.
In today's post, Dr Simone Casey (@simonecasey) discusses the ethics and efficacy of recent developments in welfare conditionality in Australia. This continues her series of posts examining topical issues in Australia's employment services system - ParentsNext; mutual obligation; 'work first' activation of jobseekers; and the growing presence of automation in Australia's welfare system. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.
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.
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.
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.
In the wake of the election results, Millie Rooney (Australia reMADE) describes how a united and inspiring vision for what Australia could be can help us work together across and around difference to create ‘the best version of us’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The use of evidence in public policy decision-making is not new, though fully embedding the practice across the public sector has been challenging. On the eve of a trip to Australia to share the learnings from the UK What Works centres with interested government and philanthropic audiences, Jonathan Breckon (Director of The Alliance for Useful Evidence) joined with Dr Robyn Mildon (Executive Director of The Centre for Evidence and Implementation) to outline some common issues for anybody setting up a new evidence centre – and ideas on how to surmount them.
The concept of the ‘middle class squeeze’ has been around for more than a decade, with the term dating back to November 2006, when US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi used it to provide context to the domestic agenda of the U.S. Democratic Party. This issue has yet to subside, with a recent report from the OECD noting that middle incomes have grown less than the average in many OECD countries, and in some they have not grown at all. The Mandarin’s David Donaldson explains how this trend affects Australia’s middle class, and outlines OECD’s recommendations for how governments can act to support this shrinking group.
Public funding of private schools has been a contentious issue in Australia. While those in favour of private schools receiving government funding sometimes claim that students studying in private institutions receive better education outcomes, analysis from Southern Cross University‘s David Zyngier and Monash University’s Pennie White seems to disagree.
Climate change is back on the political agenda and public support for action on climate change is at its highest level since 2007. But can we expect our political institutions to be able to respond in the time and scale needed given their past failures? Rather than merely policy reform do we need to reform the system of government itself? In today’s post Celia Green and Andrew Joyce discuss how cognitive science research could be used in the redesign of our political institutions to enable better decision making processes.
Bridging the evidence-policy gap is a recognised challenge for researchers and policy makers alike. In today’s blog post Hannah Badland, a Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, talks about the value of inter-sectoral partnerships to solve complex problems. Using the example of a new global framework, The New Urban Agenda, she discusses how agendas that draw on cross-sectoral collaborations can help advance policy action in complex policy areas such as the social determinants of health.
Election season is on us again, and Twitter feeds and daily news updates are full of potential elected leaders making policy promises and giving warnings about how the opposing parties won’t be able to bring us the Australia we need.
But how do we know what the Australia we need is? Depending on political leaning and personal values, this is going to vary from voter to voter. But when deciding on which policies to support, it can be useful to try and have a framework by which to evaluate platforms and the societies they are wishing to create. Megan Weier suggests that, if we want an Australia in which there is a ‘fair go for all’ (the classic Australian dream), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a useful benchmark to look to.
In today’s post, Professor Catherine Needham argues that low tolerance for public servants to test new ways of working is hampering meaningful change in the way government works with citizens. This post was originally published on the 21st Century Public Servant blog.
Laura Davy (@LauraKDavy) from the Public Service Research Group, UNSW Canberra, summarises the findings of a review into the implementation of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and urges readers to contribute to the consultation process for a new national disability policy framework which will begin next month.