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Improve public service practices using place-based approaches

Overall status:

Lead implementing agency/actor

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The problems present in the most disadvantaged locations across Australia are numerous and interrelated, and addressing them requires locally tailored, community based approaches (Australian Social Inclusion Board). The public service must have the authority, flexibility and capabilities to collaborate with different communities in different places to develop and implement different approaches.

A place-based approach recognises the impact of ‘place’ on individuals’ experiences and outcomes and incorporates this recognition into strategies to improve social, economic and environmental outcomes. It embeds meaningful public and multi-stakeholder participation into the business of policy development and service delivery.

Too often, decisions are taken centrally without the engagement of local citizens. In addition, there can be unclear lines of accountability for delivery and quality of outcomes.

This commitment, focused on public sector improvement, will explore what changes to capabilities, planning, engagement, data sharing and implementation practice of the public service are required to support a place-centred approach. It will identify learning from place-based approaches already underway such as Cities Deals, Empowered Communities, Stronger Communities for Children and Logan Together and consider how to better enable citizen engagement and involvement in program design and delivery. The purpose of this commitment is to learn from place-based approaches that are already underway and explore how these learnings could be applied more broadly across the Commonwealth.

What is the commitment?

The Government will explore ways to encourage the application and broader adoption of place-based approaches across the public service, and provide recommendations for how the public service could apply a more place-centred, transformational and joined-up delivery approach to its work.

This will be done by establishing mechanisms for the public service to learn from place-based approaches already underway, such as Cities Deals, and Empowered Communities, Stronger Communities for Children, and Logan Together. The learning focus will be on good practice and challenges in relation to delegation and accountability for local planning, engagement and service delivery to support place-based approaches and listening to the experiences of citizens.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Our ambition is to design and promote a whole-of-government approach to learning from and applying place-based approaches. The adoption of place-centred approaches should contribute to the development of policy, implementation and service system responses that better take account of the needs and aspirations of citizens, deliver tangible outcomes, hold all stakeholders to account for their responsibilities and ensure that services are delivered in a way that meet the needs of the end user.

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?

This commitment will advance the OGP values of transparency, civic participation and public accountability by:

  • facilitating informed public participation;
  • improving policy development and service delivery; and
  • encouraging an ongoing sharing of information and views across the public service that builds consensus on broad policy directions

Additional information

The work could draw on learnings from existing place-based approaches.

Current status

On track


Engagement and Development Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Special Adviser, Regional Governance, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


Other stakeholders

State actors involved - Department of Health, Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, Department of Education and Training, Department of Jobs and Small Business, Australian Bureau of Statistics and relevant State and Territory Government agencies.

CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups - Specific organisations not yet identified, but may include a cross section of Empowered Communities organisations, Logan Together community partners and Stronger Communities for Children facilitating partners, local community members and local government representatives.

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Implementation Period Status

Finalise scope of works. Relevant Commonwealth agencies will be consulted on the scope of works. Other relevant stakeholders will be invited to contribute their perspectives to the learning report

Q3 2018 - Q3 2018 On-track

Develop a framework/mechanism for the public service to learn from existing place-based approaches

Q4 2018 - Q1 2019 Not yet commenced

Capture learnings from existing place-based approaches

Q1 2019 - Q4 2019 Not yet commenced

Finalise report on learnings

Q1 2020 - Q2 2020 Not yet commenced

Provide Government with recommendations based on learnings and seek Government’s agreement to publish recommendations

Q2 2020 - Q3 2020 Not yet commenced
Last updated: 21/09/2018



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