The Evidence Based Policy project highlights how policy design frequently fails to incorporate the best available evidence, or policy development practices. Far too often the news cycle, or narrow party politics determines what polices are enacted by state and federal politicians. This can result in failed policy implementation and poor results for citizens, politicians, and society at large, especially when it undermines public confidence in policymaking.
The Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) 2012 discussion paper Public Policy Drift argued that governments must replace “policy on the run” with a “business case approach” to address the “sense of crisis in the policymaking system”. This approach would involve designing policies based on evidence, consultation, analysis, and debate. The paper outlined a business case approach based on Professor Kenneth Wiltshire’s Ten Criteria for a Public Policy Business Case and analysed 18 federal policies against those criteria, finding that only eight satisfied these standards for policymaking.
In 2018, the newDemocracy Foundation commissioned two think tanks with different ideological leanings – Per Capita and the Institute of Public Affairs – to repeat the analysis, ranking 20 recent high-profile policies (eight federal, and four from each of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland) against the Wiltshire criteria.
The 2022 Project is the fifth in the series. For the first time, Per Capita has been joined by the Blueprint Institute to complete the analysis.