Master Classes

Short course overview

IGPA is launching a new programme of purpose-built short courses in 2019 aimed at empowering current and future public sector leaders with the strategic, financial and policy skills necessary to meet the governance challenges of the 21st century. Participants can take the short courses as either an accredited or a non-accredited offering with the ability to build towards a Master degree in Public Administration.

Participants completing these programme s will have an improved understanding of: Australian governance and how it works; the range of tools for achieving outcome-driven policy-making and delivery and policy innovation; different styles and qualities of leadership for leading the APS in the 21st century; the features which define ‘quality’ and ‘value’ in the delivery of public services; Commonwealth policy agendas and their strengths and weaknesses; and, international developments in governance problem-solving.


Six key design principles guide the design and delivery of the programme:

  1. a philosophy of co-design and delivery is used throughout the learning process;
  2. alignment with Australia Public Service (APS) needs and current challenges to ensure that participants are engaged in relevant work;
  3. underpinned by high-quality research on ‘what works’ including strong comparative and international elements to distil leading thinking;
  4. specific occupational skills in terms of the policy and public finance professions are embedded in the programme  through problem-solving teaching and learning methods including purpose-built case studies, the application of APS tools to specific policy and organisational problems, role plays and exercises;
  5. each delivery involves the cumulative development of an evidence base which can be deployed for other organisational needs; and,
  6. each topic is addressed from both an academic and a practical perspective and delivered by a teaching team involving academics and present and former senior practitioners. 


Four sets of critical skills for the policy and financial professions are imparted to help future-proof participating departments.

1 Establishing strategic direction
Seeing the big picture
Changing and improving
Making effective decisions
2 Designing better policy and sustainable policy
Clarity on goals
Open and evidence-based idea generation
Responsive external engagement
Thorough business appraisal
Clarity on the role of government and accountabilities
Establishment of effective mechanisms for feedback and evaluation
3 Engaging people and expertise
Leading and communicating
Collaborating and partnering
Building capability
4 Delivering results
Achieving commercial outcomes
Delivering value for money
Managing a quality service/programme me  or project

For further information please speak to Justin Wilson, our External Relations Coordinator at 02 6201 2977 or email justin.wilson | at |


Finding fiscal space: the art of designing new policy proposals

Jane Halton AO and Professor Mark Evans

What are the ingredients of high-quality policy proposals going into Cabinet and the Expenditure Review Committee? How can departments create fiscal space to innovate in public policy-making? And, how can policy officers win the war of ideas in a complex and contested policy environment? This course aims to deepen participants’ knowledge of the practice of policy-making in Australia. It is organized around the development of a new policy proposal built through five modules:

  1. Policy advising and crafting in uncertain times – provides an introduction to the world of policy advice from the perspective of the Australian policy process, together with an understanding of the present economic (macro-economy and fiscal strategy) political (federalism) and social (citizen expectations) contexts which shape and constrain policy development.
  2. Policy design – from idea to action - It presents a ‘critical’ guide to the rudiments of traditional policy design encompassing policy learning from overseas, policy framing, Eugene Bardach’s 8-step path to successful problem solving, tools of options analysis (including inclusive cost-benefit analysis and simulation policy modelling), business planning and the range of policy instruments that can be used to guide successful implementation.  Key tools deployed in Commonwealth government will be applied to specific problems brought to the programme by participants.
  3. Government as exemplar – doing policy differently – introduces new ways of doing policy including co-design with citizens and stakeholders, the use of behavioural insights to underpin interventions and Big Data and the “internet of things” to inform real-time decision-making.  The module will draw on case studies of innovative practice.
  4. Winning the war of ideas – argues that strategic communication is a key tool of policy-making in a contested policy environment.  Three sets of skills are developed in this module: political awareness (i.e. capability to “see like a Minister” or “end users”); the ability to develop a succinct business proposal to underpin the quality of strategic policy advice and advocacy skills in policy presentation. 
  5. The Australian Budget – provides a practical understanding of the legislation, principles, processes and conventions governing the Australian Budget and how it impacts on the development of new policy proposals.

Delivering public value
Professor Mark Evans, Dr Simon Niemeyer and Professor Gerry Stoker

This course explores how managers in the public sector can be strategic in a context where purposes may be hard to define, the stakeholder environment is contested and turbulent, and authority over the means for getting things done is often shared with other entities. It considers the meaning of public value in a public sector context, the nature of the authorising environment, and when and how to harness external resources, to put forward a model for thinking strategically in government.

The course is delivered by two of the leading international thinkers on the study and practice of public value management – Professor Gerry Stoker (University of Southampton) and Professor Mark Evans (IGPA). Both Stoker and Evans have acted in senior advisory roles to governments on the introduction of public value management instrument to underpin public sector reform efforts (e.g. different approaches to citizen-centric governance).

The course aims to provide both a critical and a practical guide to the use of public value thinking in policy-making and operational delivery. The course will provide participants with knowledge and practical tools for creating and delivering public value in periods of rapid social change. Problem-solving sessions will provide participants with ‘hands-on’ experience working on key strategic issues in the Australian context. It is organised into three modules:

What is public value? What is really distinctive about providing public goods and programmes?  Is there a spectrum of “publicness”, with some goods having a more obvious public character and others? How do you measure public value?

How do you practice it? What are the operational principles informing public value management? How can you apply them to particular problems? What tools are available to guide practice (accelerator methods, co-design and deliberative tools, digital democracy) and how effective are they?

How do you measure it? Are there metrics that can allow us to measure public value creation in a meaningful way?

Designing public policies, programmes and services
Dr Nina Terrey (ThinkPlace) and Professor Mark Evans

New methodologies for facilitating meaningful engagement have become increasingly important in a world in which many of the responses to the critical public policy problems we face need to be co-created with citizens and stakeholders. This five-day short course focuses on the growing academic and practice-based interest in design and assesses its’ potential contribution to public sector production. We contend that design has an essential role to play in building trust with citizens and stakeholders, eliciting knowledge of policy and delivery problems that public organisations do not possess and monitoring and supporting the needs and aspirations of target groups over time. However, the success of design is all in the doing. Done badly it can destroy trust systems; done well it can help solve policy and delivery problems, stabilise contested policy environments, and improve life chances. 

This course is delivered in partnership with Australia’s leading design agency ThinkPlace and provides an applied introduction to the theory and practice of designing public policies, programmes and services. We argue that designing public policies, programmes and services is both an art and a craft that combines design values and principles of action with disciplinary expertise. By implication, participants will not exit this programme as design experts but will have a sound knowledge of the rudiments of good design practice.

Participants will bring a design opportunity or problem to the programme and through five stages of learning and development will build an experimental design for engaging with the issue they are working on. The five stages are:

  1. Design values, principles and disciplines 
  2. Using design tools – best practice
  3. Stakeholder centred design 
  4. Citizen-centred design, and,
  5. Digital-centred design.

Mega-Projects and Risk
Dr Khalid Ahmed (formerly Executive Director of Policy Coordination and Development Division in the ACT Treasury)

This course provides a “warts and all” guide to the art of managing and delivering large-scale projects in the public sector. It seeks to distil a concept of better practice drawing on a meta-analysis of 150 cases in different Westminster systems. It covers four modules:

  1. The megaprojects paradox – what works?
  2. Risk management tools for mega-projects
  3. Project management tools for mega-projects; and
  4. Communication tools for mega-projects.

STINMOD + for Policy Analysts
Professor Laurie Brown, Dr Jinjing Li and Professor Robert Tanton

This short course programme is delivered by members of the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) and is aimed at policy officers. It provides a rigorous introduction to STINMOD+ and builds capability in how it can be used to enhance social and economic policy analysis. STINMOD+ is one of the very few comprehensive and working tax/transfer microsimulation models in Australia, and plays an important role in conducting independent modelling of Tax/Transfer policies. STINMOD+ is classified as a static microsimulation model, which means it estimates the ‘day after’ impact of a policy. It measures the impact of the policy without any change in behaviour, for example, a decision to change working hours after a tax change. This is the same type of model used by the Commonwealth to estimate the impact of proposed tax/transfer policies. One advantage of this model is that it provides quick estimates of short run effects for the policy changes that do not change the economic structure significantly. However, it should not be used to estimate long term effects or for policy changes that are likely to change economic agents’ behaviour.

STINMOD+ is the successor of the original STINMOD model, which was pioneered by NATSEM for the Australian Treasury in the mid-1990s, and is widely used by various Commonwealth Government agencies. The latest model STINMOD+ has incorporated many new modelling techniques and has greatly improved the efficiency of the original code. The upgrade also makes it easier for other models to interact with STINMOD+ for future research and policy work. 

Participants will bring a policy opportunity to the programme and through four stages of learning and development will build a comprehensive understanding of the potential impact of competing interventions for addressing the problem. The four stages are:

  1. The origins of STINMOD: modeling principles and practices
  2. Introduction to STINMOD+: new modeling principles and practices
  3. Case examples
  4. Experimental design and analysis.

Strategic communications in a contested policy environment
Virginia Haussegger AM, Robert McMahon (formerly PM&C) and David Pembroke (

This course, which is delivered in partnership with Australia’s leading communications agency provides a state of the art introduction to the theory and practice of strategic communication in contemporary government.

It covers five modules: 

  1. What are the key principles of strategic communication and how do they work in practice?
  2. Using content information tools
  3. Policy centred design 
  4. Project centred and programme design
  5. Crisis management and triage.


Course TEAM

The Institute seeks to integrate the best of academia and best-practice in high-quality teaching teams to ensure that its programmes are fit for purpose and provide thinking space for innovation. The academic members deliver core pedagogy and the practitioners help to tease out some of the indicative practice-based issues in problem-solving clinics. The core members of our academic team for this programme will include: Professor Patrick Dunleavy (IGPA/London School of Economics/Centenary Professor), ARC Laureate Professor John Dryzek, Professor Meredith Edwards AM (former Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), Professor Mark Evans (Director, IGPA), Dr Ben Freyens (NATSEM/IGPA), Adj Prof Michelle Grattan AO (IGPA and the Conversation), Adj Prof Virginia Haussegger (IGPA), Adj Prof Carmel McGregor PSM (IGPA), Professor Gerry Stoker (IGPA/Southampton/Centenary Professor), Dr Joanne Kelly (University of Sydney), Professor Laurie Brown (NATSEM/IGPA) and Paul Porteous (IGPA/Kennedy School).

Our adjunct faculty includes: Adj Prof Glenys Beauchamp (Secretary, Department of Health), Professorial Fellow Bill Burmester (former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education), Adj Prof Dr Gordon de Brouwer AO (former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Energy), Adj Prof Kathryn Campbell CSC (Secretary of the Department of Social Services), Adj Prof Dr Martin Parkinson (Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), Adj Prof Dr Ian Watt AO, Adj Prof Ian McPhee AO, Adj Prof Tu Pham PSM (IGPA) and Adj Prof Serena Wilson (Deputy Secretary of the Department of Social Services).


Each short course is delivered through face-to-face sessions over five days, with classes running from 9am-5pm. 

master classes

Our Master Classes have proven to be extremely popular and draw on the expertise and experience of the Institute’s Fellows, Adjuncts and Visitors to provide advanced lessons in practice. This can include problem solving workshops where facilitation is used to help departments and agencies to develop shared understandings around complex governance problems. Alternatively, Master Classes can be more strategic in nature and involve presentations from leading experts on the latest thinking in public policy and governance, helping your organisation to stay at the forefront of thinking in the field and improve its performance in the process. 

Download the 2019 master Class brochure


For further information please speak to Justin Wilson, our External Relations Coordinator at 02 6201 2977 or email justin.wilson | at |

Fri 1 November 2019 Crafting Australian Innovation Precincts: Leadership, Strategy, and Place Making Professor Richard Hu University of Canberra Read More
Thu 5 September 2019 Media Management: the skills toolkit Virginia Haussegger AM University of Canberra Read More
Mon 29 July 2019 to Wed 31 July 2019 Adaptive Leadership for Change Agents Dr Paul Porteous University of Canberra Read More
Thu 4 July 2019 Strategic Communication - Key Principles Virginia Haussegger AM University of Canberra Read More
Mon 19 February 2018 The New Diplomacy and Public Service Centenary Professor Diane Stone Building 23, Level B, Room 5, University of Canberra Read More
Wed 29 November 2017 Deliberative Democracy and Public Engagement: What, When, How Presenter: Professor John Dryzek, Dr Simon Niemeyer, Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks, Dr Selen Ercan and Dr Wendy Russell Members' Dining Room 1, Old Parliament House Read More
Mon 14 August 2017 to Fri 18 August 2017 Designing a Leadership Factory - Principles and Practices Professor Mark Evans, Associate Professor Riyana (Mira) Miranti and Adjunct Professor Khalid Ahmed University of Canberra Read More
Wed 17 May 2017 to Fri 23 June 2017 Capacity Building Program in Public Service Retirement Income System Associate Professor Riyana (Mira) Miranti and Adjunct Professor Khalid Ahmed University of Canberra Read More