Guest blog: What is Policy?

 

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Image: Hans Peter Gauster (Unsplash)

What Is Policy?

I had been asking myself – and everyone else – this question a hundred times this week. ‘What is Policy?’

True to my millennial breeding,  I turn to Google.

Policy.

Noun: policy; plural noun: policies

  • a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organisation or individual.

Your standard stiff dictionary definition – but I didn’t want a textbook definition, or politician’s definition either.

I wanted to know what YOU thought Policy meant. I wanted to know what everyone else thought it meant, and WHY it might be important.

This was one of my first tasks. On my first day at APO, I stepped out of a brand meeting in which we were discussing the many facets of what Policy is, does and can be.

For me, the meeting opened up a pandora’s box of what policy actually is – action.
Did anyone pick up on the contradiction that the word ‘policy’ is a noun defined by a verb – action?

The act of policy encompasses a lot of what we take for granted in our day to day lives.

It is the prevention, the response, the intervention, the technology, the improvement, the catalyst, the continuation, the past, the present, the future – policy is the entire network of what regulates our lives.

It’s a lot. Continue reading “Guest blog: What is Policy?”

Fighting poverty with evidence – an interview with Dr Naomi Rutenberg

GEISAPO will be attending the Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS) 2018 this October – in the lead up, we offer a taste of some of the speakers. 

In this interview, Dr Naomi Rutenberg, Principal Associate, The Forest Hills Group, shares her thoughts on the changing role of evidence in the international development sector. Dr Naomi Rutenberg will deliver a much-anticipated presentation at the Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS) 2018 in Melbourne, 22-24 October.

Over your career, how have you seen the role of evidence change within the international development sector?

‘First, the attention to evidence for monitoring progress and identifying effective approaches and programs has increased exponentially – and all easily accessed through the internet. There are numerous trackers, such as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and HIV data trackers, of development program outputs and outcomes, hundreds of program evaluations produced by groups like 3ie and Innovations for Poverty Action, and massive open data banks at the World Bank and elsewhere.

‘In addition to a huge increase in the amount of evidence, evidence is also being used in different ways – well beyond program evaluation or tracking progress. One example is for micro-targeting program resources, where there is great need for program investments. An illustration of this is using data on recent HIV infections to identify “hotspots” of HIV transmission to prioritise for interventions. Another is combining research methods, such as impact evaluation and implementation research, to understand not only if a program works but for whom and why.’

How is evidence helping to address international development challenges and needs? Continue reading “Fighting poverty with evidence – an interview with Dr Naomi Rutenberg”

Highlights from the KM2018 conference

In the first week of July, Amanda Lawrence and I attended the Knowledge Mobilisation Conference (KM2018) in Sydney, hosted by the Sax Institute. It was a packed event, with an audience of about 60 per cent researchers, 20 per cent policy makers, and the rest somewhere in between.

Amanda presenting at KM2018
Amanda presenting at 2018 Knowledge Mobilisation conference in Sydney

bridge

The discussions and workshops were all about ways to bridge the gap between researchers and policy makers. The focus was on health, but the learnings are applicable across all public policy.

My key points from the conference:

Finding, building and sustaining relationships

Researchers are challenged by the situation where people in government adviser roles change frequently, making it difficult to engage, and sustain engagement.

And from the other side, it is hard to ‘find an expert’.

While at the same time it is recognised that relationship building, and ‘deliberative dialogues’, help with knowledge translation.

Speaking the right language, as well as listening the right way Continue reading “Highlights from the KM2018 conference”

APO’s crusade against broken links

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Image: Jakob Owens (Unsplash)

Broken links have become synonymous with web browsing. There are a number of reasons why and how they occur, most commonly involving a web page being moved without a proper re-direct being put in place or a change to the URL structure of the website the user is trying to reach.

‘Broken’ links are when your web browser actually displays a ‘Page not found’ error message (sometimes displayed as ‘404: Not found’). Continue reading “APO’s crusade against broken links”

Welcome changes to the Copyright Act

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Icons borrowed from ADA

While copyright reform moves at a glacial pace, it is pleasing to report that in 2017 the Australian Government introduced important changes to copyright law in the form of the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017 which came into force on Friday 22 December. The changes it brings about are the most significant to Australian copyright law in over a decade, according to the Australian Digital Alliance (ADA). The ADA report states that the Amendment:

‘…ends the antiquated concept of perpetual copyright for unpublished works, instead applying the same basic terms to all materials, regardless of whether they are published or not. It also applies flat terms to orphan works whose authors cannot be identified 70 years from when they were created or made public (this fact sheet on the changes from the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee explains what all this means).

When these laws come into effect on 1 January 2019 they will apply to all works currently protected by copyright in Australia. This means that literally millions of old unpublished works from our national collections will enter the public domain all at once, including recipes used by Captain Cook, letters written by Jane Austen and endless ephemera. Every year after that, unpublished works whose authors died 70 years earlier will also fall into the public domain, and orphan works created/made public 70 years earlier.’

Continue reading “Welcome changes to the Copyright Act”