Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category

I’d like to think that my non-posting habit is related to being hardworking and busy, but it’s not – I’m lazy and tired and prioritising going to the gym over writing. Going to the gym has to be done, of course, but I have to THINK OF MY CAREER!!`!!1! In the meantime, here’s some interesting public-sector related links.

Public Sector Blog

Google’s official Public Sector Blog discusses tools for both election campaigns and public administration. This post on Web Analytics emphasises the importance of asking the right questions of your website visitors and making it easy for them to give feedback.

The Public Administration Collective

A collective of public policy blogs from the UK and US, ranging from news and opinion to management theory.


A blog of politics and policy by a Masters student at Holy Angel University in the Philippines. Some of it’s a bit dense and clearly entry-level, but that may be exactly what you need.

Whitehall Watch

British politics and civil service blog by a Professor of Public Policy & Management at the Manchester Business School. His area of interest is in performance measurement (we call it evaluation out here in the boonies), so be warned, may not be suitable for beginners. I actually think meaningful performance measurement is of paramount importance, but jebus it’s boring.


The newsletter of the Institute of Public Governance & Management at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona. I’ve linked to the English version, but it’s also available in Catalan. I have to admit to being particularly intrigued by the suggestion that “[t]he willingness of public sector workers and managers to accept lower pay in return for … a more meaningful or enjoyable job translates into lower returns on talent in the public sector compared to the private sector.”

Undercover Economist

I’m not an economist. I work in an economic development agency. IT HURRRRRRRRTS. This blog is less painful than economics usually is.

Charting Transport

Are you a graph nerd? Close the door for some furtive one-handed browsing of this impressive collection of visual analysis of just about everything in public transport in Australia – demand growth, drivers of use, fare structures, travel data… talk nerdy to me!


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Yes Minister meets Alice in Wonderland, Myles Peterson

This piece did ring a few bells with me. I would however like to raise a couple of points:

Our section was under-budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars, necessitating we blow all the unspent money before the end of the financial year. Unfortunately, ”training” did not mean I would finally get some training. ”Training” consisted of hastily booked, dubiously relevant conferences and courses, most of which were conveniently located a long way from Canberra.

Nice work if you can get it – my department is cracking down on employee travel even though we have the same amount of spare budget. We won’t waste your valuable taxpayer dollars on sending lowly public drones to the only place they can get specialised training! (I’m not bitter.)

We were not the only ones wasting money. Associated with our section were those boffins who create public health campaigns, the ones that appear on television with increasing regularity: nights out turning into nightmares, measure your fat stomach, wash your hands – that kind of thing.

I was surprised to discover the minds behind these campaigns were not health professionals. They had backgrounds and degrees in marketing, communications and advertising, not medicine.

This is actually pretty reasonable! When was the last time you changed your behaviour because of a fact? OK, a heart attack is technically a fact, but a health professional isn’t ethically allowed to actually induce a heart attack or emphysema, so they tend to say uncompelling things like “the prevalence ratio of Type II Diabetes in overweight and moderately obese women is 3x that of normal-weight women” (closer investigation revealing that the prevalence is less than 8%, so 92% of overweight and moderately obese women don’t actually have this problem).

Hence it falls to the marketing bods to come up with ever gorier images of your heart or lungs turning black under the influence of your lazy, filthy day-to-day abuse, in the vain hope that you will actually wake up and realise that incremental changes to your lifestyle really do help. I lost over 50lb, not after being informed that obesity will shave 3.6 years off my already-likely-to-be-90+ life,  but because I was the oldest, fattest slob in a graduate intake of spunky young things whose mere existence made me grind my teeth with jealousy. Could those boffins who create public health campaigns could convey that in a 15-second spot?

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