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Proactive models of public policy

The challenge

How do we replicate proactive models of public policy? By being proactive you are determining your own scope. By being reactive you are defined by the problem. Public policy has tended to be reactive which solves an immediate problem, however, falls short on identifying underlying causes. New approaches to public policy that have a proactive element will present opportunities for thinking beyond the immediate and perceived problem. 

We as citizens and government own the problem collectively.

New public policy design ideas are happening across the world. We are interested in new ideas and then sharing these ideas amongst our networks. For example, instead of using fines to deter negative behaviour, in Sweden they have introduced positive incentive-based model in which law-abiding drivers are entered into a monthly lottery when they are recorded going the correct speed limit.

If we look specifically at traffic incidents, internationally, the effect of negative driver behavior has economic, social and environmental impacts. For example, reduced productivity from delays, emergency and health costs, and loss of life are some factors that policymakers are invested in solving. Clearly, punitive measures are not delivering desired outcomes. The challenge has arrived at a stage where it requires disruptive thinking techniques. 

Beyond traffic incidents, proactive government can be applied to a variety of areas of public policy. Some of the positives from implementing a proactive government, is a better understanding of the causes, interrelation between those causes, and a solution to a problem. Revenue shifts would likely be an unintended consequence of proactive government.

What would happen if nothing happened? Governments would continue to be reactive, which is a suboptimal response to public policy. This incurs financial costs, opportunity costs, and political costs. 

What are our objectives in using MindHive? Solving a problem, with collective, diverse thinking to provide a fresh entry point into the challenge. 

If we are successful we hope to pull together a concept paper of fresh ideas around how government can be more proactive and less reactive in public policy. 

 

Challenge Opened: 04:36 AM, Wednesday 06 December 2017
Challenge Closes: 12:00 AM, Thursday 14 December 2017
Time to go: Closed

 

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The context

Challenge Opened: 04:36 AM, Wednesday 06 December 2017
Challenge Closes: 12:00 AM, Thursday 14 December 2017
Time to go: Closed

Do you want to contribute to this challenge?

Challenge Activity

Challenge Activity

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Andrew Shaw is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Leon Sterling commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

A rather late entry to the discussion, but some support for thinking about proactive policy.

What I would like to add is that proactive Government policy can map to proactive Government services. In collaboration with Estonian research colleagues, Kuldar Taveter and Regina Sirendi, we are developing methods for designing proactive services. The design of services can include co-design and hence involve community consultation. We are comparing case studies between Estonia and Australia. The proactive services can and should be triggered by life events and business events. 

There are of course barriers to the implementation of the proactive services. But the services can be designed and implemented in a proactive way. 

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Amanda Reeves commented on the solution Proactive Models of Public Policy

A proactive policy approach implies that rather than reacting to current events, a vision of a preferred future has been crafted and policy is designed in an intentional manner to move us towards that possible future by addressing the underlying cause of these issues. The adoption of a Strategic Foresight process in policy development can consider different possible futures, identify potential impacts from emerging trends, and drive discussion regarding organisational/government values and how they shape our decisions - this then informs strategy and flows down to inform tactical and operational activity. Recommended reference: Joseph Voros, (2003),"A generic foresight process framework", Foresight, Vol. 5 Iss 3 pp. 10 - 21, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14636680310698379

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Amanda Reeves is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Timothy London is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Mark Cantor commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

Another major issue with any policy direction whether set by the community or the government is compliance. Potentially as per speeding in the intro, but more importantly in industrial and commercial compliance with stated laws regulations and policies.

There are many examples where policy direction and objectives are not achieved because the government either cuts funding to regulatory bodies or removes their power or creates a policy of self governance or self regulation in a sector. 

Any policy objective or direction requires a feedback and control process to monitor, correct behaviour and continue to steer and drive the policy requirements.

Unfortunately we have many policy areas where the government sets and forgets and only reacts after some disaster hits the media. In many cases the lack of success was predictable from the beginning. The existing system for private supply of training courses etc is a case in point.

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Mark Cantor commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

A really good example of the existing democratically elected government process absolutely failing is the current state of the Australian power system.

What is our policy or 50 year vision for our power system?

Is it a national grid?
Is it totally isolated small micro-grids?
Is it supply your own? 
How does our power supply capability adapt and align with current environmental issues?

The Paris? agreement supposedly set some small part of this (carbon emissions) for the next thirty years.

Unfortunately our democratic government cannot cope with managing our infrastructure to achieve that plan.

One issue that comes up in many of these citizen jury democracy discussions is that one of the problems with most forms of democracy is that the people making decisions do not understand the technical issues around the policy. As an example of this is the use of the "clean coal" concept. 

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Mark Cantor commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

In some of the continuous improvement research I have looked at, one of the main things that I keep seeing is the total lack of future vision.

To me a policy is setting the future vision (10, 20, 50 years) of where we want to be and then trying to define the plan to get there.

That plan may include behavioural change component policies using either laws and either discipline or incentives. 

The plan may need reviewing periodically. Periodic review may come from numerous places, but one that is sadly ignored by our government is recommendations from any number of commissions or enquiries. Indigenous custody recommendations one currently in the news. 

Or "Closing the Gap", or an old one "No child shall live in poverty".

These are very worthy visions, but there are many others much more specific with regard to healthcare, education etc.

More simply put, what do we want our country to look like in 50 years?

Creating a process and mechanism to understand that would be a very good start.

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Mark Cantor commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

I also get a little lost with the Swedish traffic story.

Is this about setting policy or improving compliance.

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Mark Cantor is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Mark Cantor commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

 Well I admit to being a little lost. Hence I'll add a few brief questions and comments for clarity.

What does "replicate proactive models of public policy?" actually mean?

What is proactive public policy? Is this collective, participatory, jury type democracy? (I can't remember the actual definition?)

Are there any models of such things?

If there is such a thing, why can't we just copy it or replicate it?

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John Wells is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Anne Bowden is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Bob Dick is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Leon Sterling is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Sarah-Jane Matthews is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Lloyd Taylor is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Lesley van Schoubroeck is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Isabel Faeth is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Toni Craig is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Jon Eastgate is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Jon Eastgate commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

The term 'proactive policy' is not really clearly defined in this challenge.  However, if I understand it correctly the notion is to craft policies that provide incentives for the behaviour or actions we want, rather than punishment for those we don't.  This is much like 'strengths-based practice' in personal support or community development - it focuses on building what is productive and community-building in people and communities rather than combating what is destructive and community-eroding.

One example that comes to mind from my own practice is recent policies around anti-social behaviour in social housing.  Essentially, the recent trend is towards policies based on the 'three strikes' model which provide tenants with formal warnings about anti-social behaviour leading up to eviction.  Independent reviews of these policies suggest that their main result is to evict highly disadvantaged tenants - as one researcher put it, tenants end up being evicted for the same issues that led to them needing social housing in the first place.

An alternative approach is provided by the UK's Family Intervention Projects.  In these projects, tenants who are identified as 'at risk' as a result of factors including anti-social behaviour may be signed up to a behaviour agreement, but they are also referred to a family intervention team which provides them with intensive support to address the issues lying behind the behaviour.  Independent evaluations of these projects report a high level of success in sustaining the tenancy and in addressing the underlying problem.  In some reports, tenants who have both a behaviour agreement and a referral to a support worker were unable to remember even signing an agreement and had no idea of its contents, but spoke very highly of their relationship with the support worker and the changes this had helped them make.

For a higher degree of difficulty, there is illicit drug policy.  Most of our resources at present go into attempts to eradicate the problem through policing of supply, and these endeavours are an expensive failure.  Many drug policy advocates now advocate for regimes which legalise and license substances, distributing them via medically supervised 'injecting rooms'.  It is suggested this approach will reduce overdose deaths and related infections, increase uptake of and access to treatment and rehabilitation programs, and cur organised crime out of the industry.  In Portugal, all substances are legal for private use since 2000, and despite the country not being particularly proactive in setting up treatment options and supervised injecting rooms, evidence suggests that since legalisation the level of drug-related crime, hepatitis and HIV infection and overdose deaths has decreased significantly.  As a spin-off benefit, legalising supply cuts off the main source of income for organised crime.

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Corey Allen commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

The issue of funding and return on investment comes to mind - for example our experience working in homelessness in the City was clearly something police are not funded for, not was it perceived as core business.  Other areas funded for this, both govt and NGO, were restrained by their funding and often could not creep scope to create partnership solutions where we could work together proactively.

The answer in part is more agility in funding, and perhaps allowing that return on investment to flow back to the solution owners so that good results can be perpetuated. 

 

My example is this - an issue for City Police was identified to involve a dominant group of pacific islander and Maori young people sleeping rough.  This group of 20 -30 young people were heavily involved in offending behaviour, very self destructive towards each other and very difficult to engage in traditional policing style.  In fact it is very confrontational.  With a small grant of $40k we employed a youth worker who was from the same culture and similar community back ground.  Together with Micah Projects we partnered side by side under the bridges to engage and divert people to better outcomes, avoiding conflict, avoiding arrest, avoiding significant community harms. Not really police work some might say, great community work for sure and extremely effective.  We clawed funding for two years then the funding streams were exhausted.  Applications for ongoing funding to address this agile problem are not readily available, and not strictly core business for police. Within months of the funding running out, the next generation of young people had reoccupied the squats and we were back to square one.  More agile funding - for activities that are outside core business where you can document a nexus to solid outcomes, particularly in partnership space would support proactive responses and upstream thinking.  No point police coming to conflict with young people who could be helped earlier, no point putting resources into the wrong end of a problem chain when you may only be making things worse.   

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Robert Humphries is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Bill Wyatte is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Bill Wyatte commented on the challenge Proactive models of public policy

The fault is not in our stars...

Public policy workers can fall into the trap of perceiving policy to be a pure, higher calling, divorced from and somewhat superior to the messy work of implementation and service delivery.  This attitude wastes agencies' most valuable proactive policy tool.

Effective customer-feedback mechanisms will identify patterns and issues from grass-roots upwards, long before they escalate into crises politically paralysing policymakers.  Such customer-centric mechanisms have long been part of service planning/performance evaluation suites.  In theory, if not in the act.

In the context that such mechanisms should already exist in any competently planned and evaluated sector, getting on the front foot with the public should not require any significant extra effort beyond monitoring and responding objectively to what agencies are hearing, on the ground.  If it does require extra effort, that effort will have obvious knock-on benefits to performance evaluation and program and policy design.  Either way, you have to want to do it.

A big plus of listening via your program and service-delivery work-faces is that such an approach enables a dialogue to develop and issues be identified and kicked around in the real world among the people most directly interested, which can produce much better input to distant central policy courtiers when they do become engaged, so they may be less likely to redefine the problem to be whatever else is on their plate.

How?

If you don't have the mechanism, look to service sectors where competition drives customer value, and for those people who are tasked by their organisations with tapping into market sentiment to continually improve and redesign services to stay ahead of the competition.  Those people are often perfectly equipped do the job for you.

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Kevin Leong is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Timothy Flor is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Kate Neely is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Alex Freeman is now contributing to this challenge Proactive models of public policy

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Challenge Progress

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Hiver

Imran Thaggard Graduate
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Harpreet Singh Graduate
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Dr. Dayton McCarthy Director, Ad Signa Consulting
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Kathleen Yeo
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Ryan Menner User Engagement Manager
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Timothy London Head of Product and Design, MindHive
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Michelle Barker Program Director
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Robert Humphries Director
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Lesley van Schoubroeck Independent public policy tragic
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John Cokley CEO
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Kaerlin McCormick Consultant
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Leon Sterling Professor
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Kate Neely Researcher, Research Translation
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Ellamarie Ramos Senior Project Officer
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Bob Dick
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Bill Wyatte Integrated Criminal Justice Governance and Program Manager
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Jon Eastgate Partner, 99 Consulting
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Lloyd Taylor Consulting Partner
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Alison Bailey Senior Adviser
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Amanda Reeves Improvement Manager - Redesign
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Corey Allen Inspector
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Roy Barrett
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Kevin Leong Assistant Manager
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Toni Craig Program Manager
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Anne Bowden Industry Liaison Coordinator
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Timothy Flor Policy Analyst
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Isabel Faeth Manager
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mark Daniels Head of Market Development
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Kevin Cox
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Mark Cantor Retired Engineer & Health Consumer Representative
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Dion McCurdy Director
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Claire Stokes Strategic Engagement & Development Manager
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Sarah-Jane Matthews
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Alex Freeman
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Martin Deering Executive Officer
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Leanne Hanson Literacy & Numeracy Specialist Teacher
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John Wells
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Murray Saylor
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Andrew Shaw Assistant Director; Youth, Training and Work Experience
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