12th Policy Professionals Summit

Enhance your ability to analyse, synthesise and communicate complex problems

  • June 24th - 28th, 2019
  • Hotel Kurrajong Canberra


Download the brochure

- Communicate a persuasive policy narrative to stakeholders
- Utilise strategic thinking to develop robust, evidence-based policy
- Innovative approaches for overcoming complex policy problems
- Foster outcomes-driven policy design and implementation


Matthew James

Matthew is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Institute. He is also responsible for the Housing & Specialised Services Group, which leads the Institute’s data development and reporting on housing and homelessness, mental health, palliative care and drugs and alcohol.

Prior to joining the Institute in November 2016, Mr James held leadership roles in performance, information and evaluation as Assistant Secretary, Indigenous Affairs Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and as a Branch Manager within the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

  • Alexandra O’Mara
    Deputy Secretary, Arts, Screen & Culture
    Department of Planning & Environment NSW
  • Rachelle Warner
    Director Afghanistan, Africa & UN Peacekeeping
    Department of Defence
  • Liam Demamiel
    Director, Strategic Intelligence and Projects
    Department of Human Services
  • Selwyn Button
    Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations


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Download the brochure
Apply project management principles to policy
Policy tools for 'wicked' problems
Manage policy tensions and disruptive forces
The policy cycle - Do we need to reinvent the wheel?
Communicate evidence with impact
Keep your edge as an experienced policy professional
Drive innovative reform through collaborative stakeholder engagement
Use critical analysis to monitor progress throughout the policy cycle
Data, evidence & policy
Policy, planning & reform
Develop cross-cutting policies through collaboration with partners
Exploring the role of the media in public policy development
Strategies to effectively communicate & collaborate with stakeholders
Turn policy into action
Future directions for policy professionals
Policy Professionals Leadership Workshop - Day One
Policy Professionals Leadership Workshop - Day Two
Pre-Summit Workshop

24 Jun


As a policy professional, you often deal with complex projects that are not always linear. Using project management tools and frameworks will help you strategically manage this complexity. Explore practical techniques to strategically plan your time, effectively manage stakeholders and mitigate risk. 

Manage complexity using project management principles

- What is policy project management?

- The applicable fundamentals 

- How to apply this to the complexity

Strategic policy project planning

- Effective time management skills

- Deal with inheriting projects at different stages

- Tools to stay motivated throughout adversity

Stakeholder management strategies

- Manage internal and external stakeholders 

- Identify who needs to be informed

- Stakeholder communication strategies

Identify and manage risk

- Understand and account for uncertainty

- Stakeholder mapping for risk mitigation

- Manage risk by utilising evidence

  • Claudine Lyons Founder & Consultant Claudine Lyons Consulting

Summit Day 1

25 Jun

Case Study

In the public sector, you'll have to solve astonishingly complex policy problems. Selwyn will share advice for tackling challenges using examples from his career in Indigenous affairs.

- The role of evidence in public policy

- The benefits of using behavioural insights

- Practical lessons for problem solving

  • Selwyn Button Registrar Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations

Case Study

Policymaking is about delivering outcomes that appeal to different interests and perspectives. Discover how you can achieve positive results while minimising disruption and the risks of policy derailment.

- What to do when disruption threatens to derail policy processes

- Tackle industry opposition

- Know when to compromise

  • Rachelle Warner Director Afghanistan, Africa & UN Peacekeeping Department of Defence

Case Study

Hal has been identifying policy problems and establishing changes to improve policy capability at an organisational level. Hear the findings from this assessment and gain best practice strategies for driving change.

- Understand the fundamentals of good policy

- Improve policy practice and outcomes at an organisational level

- Measure policy effectiveness of an organisation and track improvements

  • Hal Painter Manager, Strategic Projects and Research Department of Industry, Innovation & Science

Expert Commentary

Evidence-based policy faces vigorous competition from decision-makers’ opinions and ideology, the lobbying of interest groups, viral stories, “common sense” and media commentary. For evidence to have an impact, you must communicate it strategically.

- Present evidence powerfully

- Overcome challenges to evidence-based policy

- Simple techniques for increasing the impact of quantitative information

  • Wendy Jarvie Adjunct Professor, School of Business / Former Deputy Secretary, Department of Education, Science & Training University of New South Wales, Canberra


As the international political landscape shifts, we must reconsider what it means for policy design across the Commonwealth. Our expert panellists will consider the potential impacts and future directions of policy.

- Keep policy fresh, relevant and innovative

- The impacts of the changing political marketplace in decision making

- Potential new challenges in policy making and possible solutions

  • Amber Shuhyta Acting Executive Group Manager, Policy Partnerships & Programs, Health Systems Policy & Research ACT Health Directorate

  • Bridget Anyon Director, Mainstream Interface Branch Department of Social Services

  • Jodie Varnai Director, Policy, Office of the Secretary Department of Finance, Services and Innovation NSW

  • Adam Ingle Assistant Director, Electronic Surveillance Section, National Security Policy Branch Department of Home Affairs

Case Study

The best policy outcomes stem from collaborative stakeholder engagement, where there is a deep understanding of the objective and underlying issues. Alex will share her experiences with a focus on the development of the Cultural Infrastructure Plan 2025, which has recently been released by Create NSW.

- Understand the problem and the reasons for it through proactive stakeholder engagement

- Develop shared solutions with engaged stakeholders

- Drive innovative approaches

  • Alexandra O’Mara Deputy Secretary, Arts, Screen & Culture Department of Planning & Environment NSW

Expert Commentary

Critical and strategic thinking are essential skills for developing a robust policy. Claudine will discuss how you can use these skills to assess and evaluate policy outcomes.

- Assess evidence using critical thinking

- Tools to monitor policy outcomes

- Implement quality program evaluation and policy review

Summit Day 2

26 Jun

Case Study

Sourcing quality data to drive informed decision-making is a crucial skill for policymakers. Discover how you can develop a powerful evidence-base through practical data analysis and data linkage.

- How to sort seemingly infinite sources of data

- Opportunities and limitations of evidence-based policy

- Use data effectively

  • Matthew James Deputy Chief Executive Officer Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Case Study

Policy planning often results in change, which can be challenging to manage in a large and diverse organisation. Knowing how to navigate these challenges are critical to organisational effectiveness.

- Establish frameworks to plan for change

- Understand the interaction of culture and change

- Manage risk in times of change

  • Martin Dunn Director, International Security Division Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Case Study

Collaborating with partners is a chief ingredient for regulators, policymakers and project management specialists if they are to achieve long-lasting and favourable outcomes. Sanjay will draw on examples from his role leading a major transformation project.

- Techniques for collaboration with internal and external stakeholders

- Develop your negotiation ability

- Lessons learnt from the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS)

Expert Commentary

The dynamic role of media-oriented communication influences the development of significant policies. In this expert session, Kerry will explore the relationship between policy and the media.

- The 'mediatisation' of politics and policy

- Media changes and political participation

- Significant changes across media relations in the Public Sector

  • Kerry McCallum Professor, Communication & Media Studies Academic Director, Graduate Research University of Canberra


Working in policy, you are responsible for working with internal and external stakeholders. This interactive panel will consider the many ways that you can engage stakeholders throughout the policy process.

- Engage stakeholders during policy development

- Meaningful engagement with the public

- Inclusive and participatory policy-making processes

  • Scott Small Director, Integrity Operations Policy Department of Education and Training

  • Maureen Greet Senior Adviser, Home Affairs Branch Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

  • Kerry McCallum Professor, Communication & Media Studies Academic Director, Graduate Research University of Canberra

Case Study

Liam is responsible for implementing strategies that protect the integrity of Government payments. Hear his insights for rolling out these policies.

- Implement policy and programmes in a way that ensures their integrity

- Proof policies against non-compliance and fraud

- Ensure stakeholders understand the impacts of policy and programmes

  • Liam Demamiel Director, Strategic Intelligence and Projects Department of Human Services


This interactive roundtable provides the opportunity to discuss challenges and collaborate, allowing you to find effective solutions to some of policy's most common challenges.

- Reflect on your goals

- Highlight key lessons

- Future directions for policy

  • Joanne Smith Principal Consultant Hatfield House

Post-Summit Workshop

27 Jun - 28 Jun



- Identify and share your key policy challenges

- Share and explore your policy leadership experiences

Policy and its processes

- Policy models and debates: the policy cycle and its critics

- Manage ‘wicked’ problems and complexity

- What’s the role for policy tools (risk management, stakeholder mapping)?

- Evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence?

Frameworks for complex policy environments

- Explore distinctions between the simple, the complicated and the complex

- Understand and adapt to VUCA environments (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous)

- Situational awareness, systems thinking and sense making

Key approaches and models for leadership

- A “Cook’s tour” of leadership literature

- What’s the role of followership?

- Distributed and ‘leaderless’ leadership

Leadership approaches for complex environments

- Key tasks of adaptive leadership

- Ambiguity tolerance and skills for managing uncertainty

- Policy experimentation its risks and opportunities


Lead and manage yourself

- Emotional competence: understanding yourself and others

- Working under pressure: resilience and self-management

- Maintain momentum and sustain effort despite criticism

Lead and manage others

- How to get the best out of your policy teams

- Create positive team dynamics and build collective intelligence

- Manage high performance: from compliance to conversations

Work collaboratively to achieve results

- Stakeholder engagement vs stakeholder management

- Boundary spanning and co-design

- Skills for collaborative policy-making: perspective taking, diversity, trust-enhancing communication

Become a trusted policy executive

- Reflect and respond to key lessons of the program

- Plan and commit to actions that will lead to success

- Plan your ‘take-back’ to the office


Hotel Kurrajong Canberra

8 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra, ACT, 2600

026234 4444

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