Does where you start from matter? Collaboration from a top-down and bottom up perspective

Stream: Panel 68 - Public Policy & Social Justice: Evaluating and Improving Public Sector Performance
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 10.30 am


The Rudd Government’s Home Insulation Program (HIP) provides many lessons for the public service. One important conclusion emerging from the numerous inquiries and commissions held since the program was abandoned was that federal public servants failed to collaborate with external stakeholders, independent experts and their state counterparts (see Scales, 2014; Hanger 2014, Hawke 2010, Shergold, 2015). The failure to collaborate compromised the HIP from the start, due the inability or unwillingness of public servants to properly consult and collaborate (see Scales 2014:27, Hanger 2014:83, Hawke 2010:17). This paper examines survey data from over 1700 public servants across eight Australian jurisdictions to ascertain the extent of, and attitudes to, collaboration with key stakeholders, experts and colleagues in other jurisdictions. This data allows us to compare and contrast what are the features of successful and less successful policy collaborations. We argue there are important distinctions depending on whether consultation has occurred as part of bottom-up implementation strategy – something that often is seen in disaster management situations, as compared to top-down consultation as evidenced by the HIP.


Tracey Arklay (Presenter), Griffith University
Dr Tracey Arklay is a senior lecturer in the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University. She is the program director of the Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis which aims to improve the policy capacity of working policy officers. Her research interests include public policy, Australian politics, electoral campaigning and political biography.

Robyn Hollander (Presenter), Griffith University
Associate Professor Robyn Hollander has long standing interests in federalism and regulation which stem back to her doctoral studies. While that research focused on housing policy in Australia, and in particular the work of the then Queensland Housing Commission, two relationships were unavoidable; that between the commonwealth and the states and between governments and markets. These relationships have continued to inform her research agenda which has spanned several policy areas including the environment, competition, and most recently higher education. Her current work centres around issues of moral policy.

Mark Bruerton, Griffith University