Policy Essentials: using evidence and data for good policy design and implementation

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details

Executive Education

Date & time

Monday 26 October 2020 to Friday 30 October 2020


Online and distance


Dr Trish Mercer and Dr Wendy Jarvie


Isobella Fry
02 6125 5707

This course builds on Policy Essentials: what you need to know to design and implement good policy to help participants to identify and deal with the challenges in developing evidence-informed policy and programs. The course will include how to critique evidence when you are not an expert and have little time. There will be a particular emphasis on how to communicate evidence for greatest policy impact and to guide program implementation using a range of real-world examples for illustration. Participants will be involved in hands-on exercises to reinforce the learnings through practice, including a longer exercise to gain deeper insights into the challenge of making evidence-informed policy.

See related courses: Policy Essentials: what you need to know to design and implement good policy

This course will run as an online and distance program in 2020. It is tentatively set to run for one week 26-30 October 2020. Specific dates and times, including for multiple live sessions will be confirmed soon. Contact to find out more.

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Course overview

Objective: To help you use evidence and data to become a confident participant in the policy design and implementation processes.

Course outline: Evidence-based policy and implementation is the ‘holy grail’ for Australian public servants. But they face many challenges including the dominance of the short term and economic perspectives, the influence of ideology and the need for policy and programs to deal with immediate problems and crises. Participants will work through the various challenges to evidence-based policy drawing on their own experiences, case studies and insights from the academic and grey literature.

The Workshop will explore how to critique evidence when you are not an expert and have little time. There will be a particular emphasis on how to communicate evidence for greatest policy impact and to guide program implementation. Participants will be involved in hands-on exercises and will also be involved in a longer exercise to gain practical insights into the challenges of making evidence-informed policy that is implementable.

The Workshop will be conducted by two highly experienced former practitioners drawing on their previous experience and their ongoing research into public policy issues.

Topics to be covered: Challenges in using evidence for Australian policymakers; Critiquing data and evidence; participating in a hypothetical interdepartmental committee exercise involving different departmental perspectives on available evidence; The principles and practice involved in communicating and employing data and evidence effectively for policy and program design and implementation.

Course structure: The structure of the day is based around presentations followed by practical exercises to embed learnings; longer exercises are done in the afternoon sessions. The workshop is based on a high level of interaction with participants and the use of exercises involving different groups of participants to increase participation and small group interactions.

Academic research and other expertise is employed to offer insights and a range of social policy case studies are drawn on as practical illustrations. Participants actively work through examples so that they can draw out the lessons themselves. Participants are also provided with useful resources for further study including key academic works, grey literature and on-line sites.

Learning outcomes: Expanded capability to use and critique evidence for policy design and implementation.

Who should attend? This course is designed for public servants in the APS4-EL1 range who have limited policy experience or who are aspiring to work in policy. It is suitable for graduates who have recently joined the public service. It is also good for people who want a more strategic approach to implementation and to link policy and implementation more closely. While the course is at the introductory level, it is also suitable for participants in higher APS classifications who are looking for a ‘refresh’ or have principally worked in implementing programs.

Participants from the ‘third sector’, such as non government and private sector organisations, who are looking to expand their understanding of government and policy processes also regularly attend and have found this course very useful. No prior experience required. It is preferable that participants have some background and/or experience in government.

Online training: How it works

This is a real-time, date-specific course, in which you will join live classes, engage and connect with experts, other course participants and the Executive Education team. Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-course live session. This is an opportunity for you to grab a cuppa and join our meet and greet before the course commences.
  • Practice + Study. Set aside up to 2 hours per day – this time commitment will vary depending on how deeply you choose to engage with the material. It is up to you.
  • Course pack. Each participant will receive a carefully curated workbook, which includes everything you need to guide you through the course.
  • Live sessions with presenter. This is a specified date and time for you to come together with the presenter and other participants to consolidate your learning.
  • Post-course. On completion of the course, you will receive your post-course resources for your reference and further learning.

Why choose online training?

  • No time off work – study and practice when you can.
  • Busy schedule? No problem, you can go at your own pace, join just the live classes, and do the course work whenever suits you best. We know that work and family obligations can be overwhelming. Mix and match the schedule to fit your life.
  • No travel. This is a course right at your fingertips. With no travel expenses, this is a very affordable option for high-level training with world-leading experts.
  • Live interaction with world-leading experts. You’ll have direct access to all the best resources and trainers.
  • Working remotely? With the online and distance format, we welcome participants from around the world to join us.


What if I can’t make a live session? No problem, we understand you are busy. Live sessions are recorded and transcribed for you to catch up in your own time.

What if I’m in a different time zone? All advertised course times are scheduled in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) otherwise known as GMT+11. Convert for your time zone here.

What if I am not tech savvy? As long as you have access to a phone or computer, you’ll have no problems. This is a low-tech course designed for everyone. If needed our team is here to help – contact us at

What if I have questions? We would love to hear from you. Contact our team at

Updated:  25 September 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team