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Government with a cast of dozens: Policy capacity risks and policy work in the Northern Territory

journal contribution
posted on 20.07.2020, 00:00 by Dean Carson, A Wellstead
There are a number challenges to maintaining high‐quality policy capacity in sparsely populated areas such as Australia's Northern Territory (e.g. natural resource dependent economy, prominence of Indigenous issues, provision of local services). Moreover, the Territory government has recently been undergoing a host of public sector changes. This paper utilises survey methodologies of policy workers that were recently developed in Canada and examines nine risk factors to policy work. A survey of 119 policy workers in the Northern Territory was conducted in 2013. The analysis examined four key policy‐work areas (policy activities, barriers, areas for improved policy capacity, nature of change in work environment). The survey findings offer some practical insights for managers. Formal policy‐work training is recognised as critical. Policy capacity may be increased through better inter‐departmental (and potentially inter‐governmental) cooperation and information sharing, more opportunities to engage with non‐governmental stakeholders, and more opportunities for those leaving the full‐time Northern Territory policy workforce to continue to contribute. From a conceptual point of view, the extent to which ‘policy capacity’ as commonly conceived in the literature is applicable to contexts, such as Australia's Northern Territory, warrants further examination.

History

Volume

74

Issue

2

Start Page

162

End Page

175

Number of Pages

14

eISSN

1467-8500

ISSN

0313-6647

Publisher

Wiley

Language

en

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

Michigan Technological University

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Australian Journal of Public Administration

Exports

CQUniversity

Categories

Exports