Question
“Given how beneficial cross-sector collaboration can be, how can governments better collaborate with people and organisations outside of government (academic, private sector, etc.)?”
Mitzi Bolton Senior Policy Officer/ PhD Candidate Victorian Public Service
Top Answer
Top Answer

There's a movement in UK government that was started this year called One Team Gov which explicitly talks about how we should be collaborating with other sectors. My own experience of it is that the government talks about this thing called open policymaking, where it's got porous boundaries and people can come in and get involved, but in reality it never really happens. People are worried about putting policies in front of people early on, before ministers have said that it's the right thing. So it's been difficult for us to try to do that. The ways we've done it is by saying, 'We're working on this problem, does anyone want to get involved?'. In specific policy areas, we had a regular demo to people and anyone could that and we would show what we were working on. We wouldn't necessarily show any of the sensitive policy stuff, but we would show what we had learned about users, and caveated everything by saying none of this is official policy. But we just did it, and eventually the people really bought into it. We started to change hearts and minds again, by just doing things.

We're trying to push in the MoJ a strategy for working with other sectors, particularly the startup sector because tech startups are doing some really interesting things that government could really benefit from, especially when they are fighting against an entrenched market. For example, one thing we're really interested in is low-cost legal advice and support; the startup sector is starting to investigate this. We need to come up with a way to get involved with that and think about how we can support the startup sector. We've tried to be as open as we can with the things we look at.

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