Done – Successful Implementation

McLeod Governance has long been a strong admirer of the Australian National Audit Office’s Better Practice Guides.

The Better Practice Guides

aim to improve public administration by providing a mechanism whereby better practices employed in organisations are recognised and promulgated to all Australian Government entities.

This can involve examining practices in the public or private sectors, in Australia or overseas. Our emphasis is to identify, assess and articulate good practice from our knowledge and understanding of the public sector as well as areas where improvements are warranted.

Before we review a recent release we wanted to make the observation that every audit function can and should be considering a similar mechanism within their own organisations.

Yet as rational as the argument is for such a process we infrequently see it done – we are not sure why.

As for the current Better Practice Guide the ANAO notes:

All Governments expect their policies to be implemented on time, on budget and to expectations. For that to occur, implementation considerations must be a fundamental part of all stages of policy development.

And is is those implementation considerations – whether you are in the private or public sector – that are this Guide’s focus.

The first lesson should go without saying but its importance requires that it is always kept in mind:

There are always lessons to be learnt from the implementation of most policies, not least the importance of good planning.

It then notes that:

strong and ongoing leadership is critical, regardless of whether the policy and its implementation sits with one entity or involves several

The need for an encompassing framework for policy development and implementation is called out:

there are essential capabilities and preconditions for implementation to succeed that involve an inclusive approach, sound processes, the effective use of resources and the consideration of implementation at every stage of policy development

And we are pleased to see that risk management is seen as an iterative process rather than a one off event:

the identification and management of risk is not a ‘one-off’ exercise, but a key element that is required at all stages of policy development and implementation

And that the need to verify what has been done is actually done:

policies and programs, when implemented, require active management to be successful, and this involves: measurement, analysis, consideration of feedback and complaints, evaluation and review, calibration and adjustment.

The Better Practice Guide contains a series of checklists that every organisation should take the time to consider.

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