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Effective Policy Analysis & Development Masterclass
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Effective Policy Analysis & Development Masterclass

2-Day Training Course. A comprehensive overview of strategies used to perform effective policy analysis. The course also explores approaches to developing sound policy options, & how to present persuasive policy advice

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Key Learning Objectives

  • What policy analysis involves and its typical institutional settings
  • The attributes of effective policy analysts
  • What role government plays in society and its limitations and strengths compared with other social institutions, including markets
  • How to integrate market analysis, benefit-cost analysis, comparative institutional analysis, and implementation analysis into your policy development work
  • How to clearly scope and develop your policy ideas and present your policy analyses effectively for multiple audiences
  • How to work effectively with others to promote sound policy solutions

About the Course

Anyone involved in the public policy process needs to possess strong analytical skills, and be able to effectively apply a those skills within a complex political environment.

This course reviews analytical strategies that are essential for effective policy development. It covers the nature and role of policy analysis, interactions among social institutions, markets, and government, how to conduct effective policy analysis, how to manage the policy development process, and how to produce sound, persuasive policy reports.

The course is organised into a series of modules, each of which involves a formal presentation of material followed by structured discussions and case work. Participants are encouraged to relate elements of each module to their current preoccupations and practices.

All modules are supported by written notes and guides for additional reading.

Who Will Benefit

This course will be of high value to all those involved in planning for, and producing, policy at a local and central government level, including policy analysts who are new to their role, or analysts who would like to refresh their policy skills.


I got a lot out of attending this course – Michael was a great facilitator who was able to draw ideas out of the group
Policy Analyst, New Zealand Ministry of Education

Michael was excellent, he structured the material perfectly. I learnt a lot and feel I got a lot out of attending the course
Senior Policy Officer, Department of Human Services

Course Outline

Setting the scene for Policy Analysis

What Policy Analysts really do

An introduction to the seminar, welcoming of participants, and discussion of key issues facing contemporary policy analysts:

  • The role of policy analysis in society
  • Where policy analysts are employed
  • How policy analysts contribute to public decision-making
  • Formal and informal requirements for the policy analyst
  • Key relations of the policy analyst
  • The challenges that impede effective policy analysis
  • Managing your career as a policy analyst

What governments do

An overview of the policy tools available to governments and why they use them:

  • The role of government in society
  • The importance of cooperation and coordination without coercion
  • The range of policy instruments governments use
  • The increasing complexity of issues facing societies and governments

Performing effective market analysis

An introduction to consumer choice, firm behaviour, and market processes, and an explanation for why policy analysts need to know about these things:

  • Why markets are viewed as primary allocative devices in society
  • The demand side of the market
  • The supply side of the market
  • Equilibrium in markets
  • Price signalling and interconnected markets

Market failure

A discussion of key limitations of markets and appropriate policy responses:

  • Information asymmetries
  • Externalities
  • Public goods
  • Natural monopolies
  • Social equity concerns

Government failure

Why policy responses to problems can sometimes end up creating new sets of problems, and how to avoid that possibility:

  • The coordination role of government
  • The tendency for government to manage processes that fall into the “too hard” basket of other social institutions
  • Non-market counterparts to market failure
  • Concerns about abuse of power, undue influence, poor mechanism design, and technological lock-in
  • Path dependency and its relevance

Problem definition

A review of approaches to defining problems and proposing solutions. The definition of policy problems is never straight forward and one person’s solution will often turn out to be another person’s problem:

  • Social conditions versus policy problems
  • Intuitive approaches to problem definition and generation of solutions
  • Rational approaches and the use of frameworks
  • Considering unintended consequences
  • The “sensemaking” approach
  • Politics, agendas, and policy choice

Applying strategies for Policy Analysis

Cost-benefit analysis

How to use cost benefit analysis to determine the merits and relative merits of policy alternatives:

  • The central place of cost benefit analysis in policy analysis
  • The identification of negative and positive effects of a policy
  • Methods for estimating the costs and benefits of policy impacts
  • Methods for discounting future streams of costs and benefits
  • How analysts approach issues of human life and the quality of life

Comparative institutional analysis

An overview of a technique for comparing actual structural arrangements and drawing lessons from the analysis:

  • The merits of thinking comparatively
  • The importance of learning from practice
  • The dangers of superficial comparison
  • The practical value of good theory
  • How to conduct effective lesson-drawing work
  • How to make comparisons across time and across space

Implementation analysis

How implementation analysis can improve policy design and increase the likelihood that policies will have their intended effects:

  • The importance of successful implementation to policy work
  • How individuals and organisations interpret and re-interpret policy
  • How to assess possible barriers to effective implementation
  • The merits of sequence mapping and scenario writing
  • The distinction between theory failure and implementation failure

Developing policy reports and giving advice

An overview of issues that emerge when determining effective ways to communicate with your primary client and with other relevant stakeholders:

  • The importance of clarifying audience needs
  • How to structure a policy report
  • How to make effective use of evidence
  • How to use presentational tools, including goals/alternatives matrices
  • How to develop and present policy recommendations
  • How to developing oral briefings and presentations

Continuing to develop as a policy analyst

A discussion of ways that policy analysts can continue to build their knowledge, experience, and skills to become excellent practitioners in their field:

  • Tools and techniques in staying positive
  • Thinking creatively
  • Learning through deliberate practice
  • Leading change

On-site & in-house training

Deliver this course how you want, where you want, when you want – and save up to 40%! 8+ employees seeking training on the same topic?

Talk to us about an on-site/in-house & customised solution.


Still have a question?

Sushil Kunwar
Training Consultant
+61 (0)2 9080 4395

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