Policy in Practice

The essential toolkit for tomorrow’s public sector.

About The Program

High performing public servants are adept at tackling complex policy challenges, from concept to delivery. This complexity means that an increasingly broad range of skills is required if you are to be effective in government. Policy in Practice will add new tools to your toolkit, sharpen your existing skills, and unleash your policy leadership potential. It is designed for people with some experience of policymaking to develop the capability to apply your skills in more complex policy environments. 

Nous Group and the Institute of Public Administration Australia WA (IPAA WA) will deliver a six day program that brings together a small group of public servants to engage with the latest techniques in policy design and delivery, and apply learnings to the contemporary policy challenges of government.

Core Program

The core program is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to make a major contribution to policy development and policy implementation. Throughout the course participants have time to share their experiences and to hear the perspectives of external speakers through panel discussions.

Simulated Decision Making Process
Throughout this program, participants work in groups to apply their learning to a contemporary policy problem. Groups will apply new and innovative approaches to policy design and delivery to the policy problem during the facilitated sessions and will also be required to spend some time outside of the sessions preparing their response to the policy problem. On the final day, participants practice their skills by presenting their response to before a panel of experienced Directors General and/or former Ministers, and receive feedback on areas for improvement.

The program provides opportunities for participants to build or reenergise their networks across the public service. These networks create strong bonds across agencies that endure throughout their careers. The final day will conclude with a networking function for current participants and Policy in Practice alumni from previous years to help you build long-lasting networks and relationships.

Learning Benefits

Policy in Practice is ideal for those looking to challenge themselves and learn more about how government tackles complex policy questions – not just in theory but in practice. It provides an automatic cross agency network and with it an opportunity to broaden your understanding of government in WA. 

The program has a strong practical focus that draws on emerging innovative approaches to policy design and delivery, which provides a unique opportunity to develop and apply new policy-making skills to the contemporary government and policymaking context. The opportunity to present to a panel of experienced Directors General and/or former Ministers provides a realistic and stressful but safe environment to test these skills.

It has been developed to support the WA Public Sector Commission’s policy capability framework. Policy in Practice will directly address many of the capabilities outlined in the framework. 


As a result of participating in this program, participants will:

  1. Build mastery, not just understanding: The program is designed to stretch participants and provide them with the tools to lead and deliver fundamental changes to policy in the increasingly complex and uncertain environments of contemporary government.  They will be exposed to and apply emerging innovative approaches to policy design and delivery.
  2. Establish lasting networks: The program provides a platform to facilitate networking across agency silos and as such build long-lasting networks and relationships.
  3. Gain a greater understanding of WA government: Course content will be developed in conjunction with WA government agencies to ensure that the material and case studies are authentic and transferable to participants’ day to day work.

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New since PiP 2017:

The Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Murdoch University support the Policy in Practice program.

As part of IPAA WA’s ongoing partnership with the Sir Walter Murdoch School, delegates who complete Policy in Practice will be eligible to receive academic credit in the Sir Walter Murdoch School. This offer applies to new entrants in any of the Sir Walter Murdoch School’s Masters programs, including their Master of Public Policy and Management. Delegates accepted into these programs will receive 3 points of advance standing, worth approximately $3,000 dollars in unit fees.

This offer is valid for 2018 Policy in Practice delegates only. 

  • Lead facilitator - Tom Leeming

Former Department of the Premier and Cabinet Executive Director and now Nous Group Principal, Tom Leeming, will be the lead facilitator for the 2018 program. Tom is well known to many in the WA public sector, and brings a wealth of public sector policy experience following 10 years in senior policy positions. 

During this time, he gained extensive first-hand experience of a broad range of policy functions, including developing and implementing whole of government reform initiatives, articulating policy positions in response to rapidly changing government priorities, conducting complex stakeholder engagement, leading inter-governmental negotiations, preparing and reviewing Cabinet submissions and navigating the interface between public sector leaders, Ministers and Parliament.

Prior to moving to Western Australia in 2006, Tom worked in international development with the British and European Governments and advised African Governments on economic and social policy. Tom will draw on this practical experience, his knowledge of the WA public sector and Nous Group’s understanding of contemporary thinking about policy to provide a compelling Policy in Practice program.