Ros Baxter


Dr Ros Baxter has worked in social and welfare policy and practice in both Australia and the United Kingdom, and in local, state and federal government. She has been a presiding member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, and has also worked as a consultant, providing advice to public and private sector organisations in developing regulation and prosecuting strategic policy.


This Policy Thinkspace session invites you to discuss what success looks like in the context of social policy development. Participants will have the chance to discuss what they see as the hallmarks of best-practice policy design and to share examples from their varying professional experiences.

Leading policy makers from the Department of Social Services will share insights about what they see as key ingredients for effective policy making, including:

  • a clear vision of the desired solution – start with the end in mind;
  • a detailed understanding of the problem – including hard data plus the experiences of people in the thick of it;
  • genuine consultation because communities and citizens tend to know the solutions but may feel they need permission or resources to pursue them;
  • collaborative implementation – acknowledging that government does not have all the answers but we can bring resources, guidance and expertise;
  • an understanding of interrelationships with other policies and programs;
  • the rigour of testing solutions and ensuring that evidence supports the use of selected interventions;
  • willingness to review, question and improve your approach continuously and ensuring this occurs.

The hosts will outline recent case studies from work the Department of Social Services undertakes with non-government organisations and unpack how these key ingredients influenced success. Participants will be encouraged to share other case studies and to discuss policy activity in the context of cross-government policies such as the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

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