Getting the Policies we Deserve? The Dynamics of Making Policy Symposium: 8-9 Sept 2017

Centre for Ministry and Theology, College Crescent, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8-9 Sept 2017


     Symposium Proceedings



Getting the Policies we Deserve? The Dynamics of Making Policy
This Symposium will examine the group psycho-dynamics of policy making. Developing policy in government departments and in work organisations is a task fraught with pressures from many different stakeholders, internal and external. Issues of power, conflicting interests and emotional dynamics all have an impact on what appears on the surface to be a deliberate and logical process with the aim of meeting organisational and community needs. The Symposium addresses these dynamics by asking what it is we collectively do to impact policies. In particular, participants will engage with policy makers from a variety of settings to discern the conscious and unconscious social dynamics surrounding this task and how it impacts on policy implementation, on delivery of products and services and on our work and citizenship roles.

The Symposium offers participants the opportunity to discuss and work with issues such as:
•     Do we get the policies we deserve? How do we knowingly and unknowingly affect policy-making at every level?
•     What is the nature of the policy-making task and what are the emotional and relational issues it gives rise to?
•    What have the dynamics of policy-making got to do with the roles of those implementing and working with policies made by government and senior managers?
•    What are the tensions and risks faced by policy-makers and how do these constrain policy development?
•    How do the dynamics of policy-making at a macro/country-level affect policy at micro-levels in government departments and organisations?

The Symposium is working with the contention that we all affect the ways in which policy is developed whether from our work or citizen roles. Policy-making is part of an overall systemic culture where unconscious and conscious dynamics play a role in shaping the rules of our societies, organisations and groups.
In addition, policies may be “hijacked” by social defences in the sense that the outcome is rarely under the control of the implementing agency (i.e., government) because of the powerful unknown and hard to control social forces feed into the policy making process.

Keynote Speaker - Dr Bruno Boccara
Founder of Socio-Analytic Dialogue; Former Lead Economist World Bank and Director Standard & Poor's Ph.D. Economics, MIT; Ph.D. Civil Engineering, MIT Graduate NYU School of Medicine Psychoanalytic Institute; American Psychoanalytic Association.

Dr. Boccara will speak on the unconscious social dynamics of policymaking and the importance of developing empathetic capability.

“Policy makers worldwide seem to be increasingly confronted with popular protests, whose intensity and suddenness they often fail to anticipate. Widely divergent explanations as to the causes suggest that they may also be failing to sufficiently grasp all the underlying issues behind these protests. Simultaneously, citizens appear dismayed and repulsed by the political tension and policy paralysis often gripping their societies” (Boccara ‘Socioanalytic Dialogue’ in Susan Long (ed) Socioanalytic  Methods London: Karnac 2013).

These words precede the election of Trump in the US, the Brexit decision in Britain and the recent discontent with policies in many countries.

An interactive session and workshop will follow the presentation.

Panel Sessions will be held in areas of policy making within the Justice and Health/Disability Sectors. These will include facilitated interactive discussions between participants and panel presenters.

Panel presenters include:

Magistrate Tony Parsons
Magistrate Parsons leads the Melbourne and Dandenong Drug Courts, a division of the Magistrates Court of Victoria. He was previously Managing Director of Victoria Legal Aid (2000-2008) and before that a practising lawyer. He has extensive experience with policymaking both within government and with stakeholders more broadly.

Ms Jenny Hosking
Jenny Hosking is the Assistant Director, Community Correctional Services, a role she has held for the last 18 months. She has worked for Corrections Victoria since 1985 in a variety of roles and most recently she spent eight years as Manager, Sex Offender Management Branch during the development of the post sentence scheme under the Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009.

Mr Mark Madden
Mark Madden is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University. Mark has more than 30 years’ experience in media and communications and strategic planning as well as government and public policy, including justice, education and training, environment, regional development, local government and the arts. He has been Chief of Staff to senior ministers in state and federal governments. He has written an e-book of practical advice for ministerial advisers called Generals, Troops and Diplomats.

Professor Barbara McPake
Professor McPake is a health economist specialising in health policy and systems research. She has 30 years’ experience in these areas based in four university departments. She is currently Director, Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne and one of two Research Directors of ‘ReBUILD’ a UK Department for International Development funded Research Programme Consortium on health systems development She has extensive international experience in health systems research and policy analysis and advice to UN agencies and low and middle income country governments.

Associate Professor Ruth Vine
Associate Professor Ruth Vine is the Executive Director, North Western Mental Health (NWMH). She previously worked as the Director of Clinical Services for the Inner West Area Mental Health service and worked at the Department of Health as the Chief Psychiatrist for Victoria from 2009 to 2012 and was Director of Mental Health from 2003 to 2008.  Ruth has also worked as a consultant psychiatrist in forensic mental health, in a community health setting and in an advisory role with the Australian Government.  She was a member of the RANZCP committee for examinations from 1996 – 2002. She holds both medical and law degrees, and has contributed to the development of legislation and policy in areas including mental health, disability, and the management of mentally ill offenders.

Ms. Leanne Beagley
Leanne is CEO Western Victoria Primary Health Network. Until 2016 she was the Director, Mental Health and Drugs in the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and previously held other senior executive roles in a range of different health services, including Austin Health and Eastern Health.  Prior to commencing her current position she was consulting to various community and health services in areas of corporate and clinical governance and organisational performance.

Dr. John Spierings
John was appointed as the Reichstein’s Foundation’s Executive Officer in 2013 after more than four and a half years experience as a senior adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. He had responsibility for higher education, skills, industry, innovation, science, research and employment policy issues in the Office. He worked as a researcher and policy advocate in education and training with the Dusseldorp Skills Forum between 1998 and 2008. He has a long-standing interest in social justice, community development and social policy issues.

Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg
Arie Freiberg is an Emeritus Professor at Monash University Chair of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council and Chair of the Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Council. His particular areas of expertise are sentencing, non-adversarial justice and regulation. He has consulted for a number of state government agencies and departments on regulatory reform and has served as a consultant to the Federal, Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian governments on sentencing matters as well as the Australian and South African Law Reform Commissions and to the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Contexts on sentencing issues and in 2016 he was a consultant to the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General on drug courts. He has publications in the role of emotion in criminal justice and public policy,

Research and consultancy projects will be presented on posters available throughout the Symposium as a basis for discussion with poster presenters. Poster presentations of related research or projects topics are invited. See  "Call for Poster Presentations" link above.

The Symposium will include a facilitated open space for sense-making and discussion emerging from the Symposium.

Centre for Ministry and Theology, College Crescent
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8-9 Sept 2017.

Symposium $480 plus GST
Early Bird (by August 21st) $425 plus GST
Full-time Students $200 plus GST
NIODA students/members and GRA members 10% discount

Download Full Brochure

Download Call for Presentations

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Enquire about bursaries (for those in special circumstances and unable to meet these fees).
Register at www.nioda.org.au/symposium