The Evidence Based Policy Research Project commissioned free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, and progressive think tank Per Capita Australia, to analyse 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’. These policies were assessed for good process, not based on the outcome or even intention of the policies.
The IPA found that Australia’s governments, both state and federal, are failing to undertake best practice policymaking. This failure is undermining the quality of public policy and is having a detrimental impact on faith in public institutions.
The IPA and Per Capita agreed that the policies that came closest to best-practice decision-making processes were legalising Uber in Queensland, voluntary assisted dying legislation in Victoria, criminal justice reforms in NSW and access to medical cannabis legislation in Victoria.
IPA Director of Policy said Simon Breheny:
“The Institute of Public Affairs was proud to participate in this project alongside Per Capita. In an era of declining public trust in politicians, democracy and institutions, it is essential now more than ever that policymaking is undertaken in a thorough and consultative manner. Good policy process – from actually undertaking cost-benefit analysis to having a detailed plan for how a policy will be rolled out – is not a left-right issue; it is an issue of basic competency.”
“While values and principles are paramount to decide what direction policymaking should take, if not combined with careful analysis of the problem and gathering of disperse knowledge, outcomes can be dire. We have found that far too often decisions are being made on the fly without proper process, and the Australian people are suffering the consequences.”
This research was funded by a former Secretary of the NSW Treasury, Percy Allan, EY and the Susan McKinnon Foundation.