How will you implement and evaluate your chosen option?

In this section of the RIS, you must:

  • Discuss any implementation challenges you may face in this policy proposal.
  • Assess the implementation risks: their likelihood, consequences and management.
  • Outline transitional arrangements in moving from one policy to another.
  • Describe how the performance of your policy will be evaluated against its objectives, during and after implementation.

Writing an implementation and evaluation plan

It’s essential to have a clear implementation plan for delivering your proposed policy option.

An implementation plan creates a shared understanding among those who will bring your project to life and ensure its success.

There should be a clear line of sight from the Government’s objectives to the expected outcomes and benefits.

You should identify implementation challenges, timeframes and project phases. This is even more important when a project intersects with other regulations, policies or projects.

Identify resourcing and governance arrangements so everyone knows which decisions can be made by whom.

Include a clear plan for bringing stakeholders along with you. Risks must be clearly identified, their likelihood assessed and consequences considered.

Make sure your plan reflects the importance of evaluation: not just to assess how well you implemented the policy, but whether the policy remains relevant and needed.

Even the best regulation should be periodically reviewed to determine if it is still needed or could be improved. Changes in technology, demography, consumer preferences or the introduction of other regulations can affect the relevance or effectiveness of any set of rules.

Keep your vision fixed on the original objectives of the policy and perform regular reviews to test if the policy continues to meet those objectives.

If you need help with this aspect of your RIS, contact your portfolio Deregulation Unit, OBPR, or if you’d like more specialised assistance with implementation and evaluation, contact the PM&C Cabinet Implementation Unit at implementation@pmc.gov.au.

Specialised implementation advice is also available under your own roof. At least one deputy secretary in every department is a member of the APS Policy Implementation Network (APSPIN) whose job is to lead their department’s implementation capability. Direct assistance and advice is available from this resource.

Use this checklist to ensure your RIS is an example of good implementation practice.

Have you put your intended policy outcome into words?

  • What does success look like and how will you get there?
  • What are the measures your performance will be judged by?
  • Have you collected enough benchmark data to assess whether your policy has had the desired effect over time?

Who are the decision makers and how are they accountable?

  • Have you adequately considered governance?
  • Are the roles and responsibilities of each person, group or agency involved clearly defined and documented?
  • Is there a shared understanding of who is responsible for each decision?
  • Are there reporting and review arrangements in place?
  • Are you keeping it simple? Don’t allow project management processes to become an end in themselves.
  • Are you able to manage problems proactively and escalate issues, risks and disputes to the right person or body quickly?

Are your stakeholders adequately involved or informed about progress?

  • Do you have the right number and type of stakeholders? Not too many, just enough to provide useful feedback and keep you on your toes?
  • How are you keeping them informed of progress?
  • Are you listening to stakeholders as well as talking to them? Ask them for ideas on implementation or risk issues; if they are the right kind of stakeholder, they will have a helpful view you might not have previously considered.

Are you on the lookout for risks and threats to success?

  • Remember: the aim is not to eliminate risk but to identify, assess and manage risk. Be proactive in avoiding known risks and vigilant in identifying new ones.
  • Develop and maintain your risk management strategy in conjunction with stakeholders.

How will you evaluate your policy during and after implementation?

  • Plan from the start what will be measured, how it will be measured, why and who you will report this to.
  • Good evaluation questions include: Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing it the right way? Are there better ways to get the same result?
  • Evaluation should not passively consider the performance of the policy, but actively question the ongoing need for the policy. Ask yourself if the policy continues to perform a useful purpose. Is it still required or can it be done away with?

Do you have the right amount and type of resources to implement your policy?

  • Look at people, financial and delivery resources across the life of the implementation, not just whether you have enough to implement the first stage of your policy.
  • Have you weighed up the costs of using different delivery mechanisms? Make an informed choice on what resources will be required to deliver your desired outcome.

Further guidance material on implementation can be found at www.cuttingredtape.gov.au