Discussion paper

Policy implementation through devolved government

Public sector Policy Local government Australia

Government in Australia has a long history of delivering public services with and through other sectors. As in many other developed countries, this approach of 'devolved' government has increased significantly in scope, scale and complexity.

This paper explores:

  • the nature and extent of devolved government
  • the choice of devolved government compared to other policy implementation approaches, and
  • essential considerations and factors for making it effective.

The paper argues for a strategic, evidence-based approach to choosing and designing how government will operate, including using devolved government approaches. It highlights the need to give greater attention to the implications for the Australian Public Service (APS) of operating under different implementation modes. Key issues that need to be addressed include:

  • fit for purpose accountability
  • effective approaches to performance management
  • building public service capability
  • safeguarding citizen satisfaction and trust
  • providing for effective policy-delivery interaction, and
  • supporting non-government providers.
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