Evidence based policy research project: 20 case studies

A report for the Evidence Based Policy Research Project facilitated by the newDemocracy Foundation
Evidence-based policy Policy Australia

The Institute of Public Affairs, for the third year running, has undertaken analysis of 20 public policies using the ten criteria of the Wiltshire test for good policy-making. This research project was commissioned ‘to coax more evidence-based policy decisions by all tiers of Government by reviewing and rating 20 high profile government decisions against the Wiltshire business case criteria.

Each case study was analysed and rated on whether it complied with good policy making processes (as defined by the Wiltshire criteria), not on whether it achieved its intended social, economic or environmental outcomes, many of which may not yet be known. This analysis has found that both state and federal governments are failing to consistently apply best practice in the development of public policy.

Seven of the 12 policies assessed were assessed to have met most of the Wiltshire Criteria. The other 5 policies failed the test.

This year presented a number of policy challenges requiring a swift or urgent response. For these policies, a modified Wiltshire Criteria restricted to urgent crises such a bushfires, floods or pandemics was followed.

This analysis found that both state and federal governments succeeded at applying best practice in the development of public policy for each of the emergency policies. All policies, with the one exception of Queensland use of emergency powers which received a 5/10, were found to have met the modified Wiltshire Criteria.

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