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How we work

At Health, we develop policy, where we work out in detail what a problem or issue is and the best way to solve it. This includes designing programs and services and implementing initiatives. These can be a response to a new problem that needs a prompt response, a way of doing tried and true things better, or something highly innovative.

How we develop policy

We use policy to help us solve problems and issues in health, aged care and sport.

  1. A policy could start in a number of ways:
    • ministers may ask us to deal with a new challenge or emerging priority
    • stakeholders may ask the government to solve a problem they have identified
    • our expert staff may review our activities and flag that a different approach is needed 
    • changing circumstances may mean that a particular program or service is no longer doing the job, and needs to be changed.

    We develop the policy by looking in depth at:

    • what the problem or issue is
    • who the problem or issue affects
    • how severe the problem or issue is
    • what we want to achieve with our solution
  2. We use different types of research and data analytics to inform and verify our thinking. We also work out how much the policy will cost and how to test it.
  3. We listen to our stakeholders, which can include other government departments, peak bodies, organisations that provide services and people who receive the services. See consultation and engagement for more information about our stakeholders.
  4. We may change our policy based on what our stakeholders tell us.
  5. Once we have finalised our policy, we take it to the Government for approval. The policy goes to the Government’s Expenditure Review Committee (the part of the Cabinet that considers all public spending) and/or all members of the Cabinet for approval. 
  6. We then put into action our response through initiatives, programs and services. Usually, these are delivered by agencies and organisations, both inside and outside the department.
  7. We keep you informed about our activities. See awareness and education for more information.
  8. We continue to test our solution to make sure that it is working properly.
  9. We also check to see that our solution is being delivered to the standard that we expect. See regulation and compliance for more information.

Health policy

Our work on health policy spans a huge range of activity – everything from national health systems, such as the MBS and PBS, to educating health professionals, regulating therapeutic goods and medical devices, and providing health and medical research grants. See our corporate plan for more information on our recent policies.

Aged care policy

Together with our portfolio agencies, we fund, regulate and oversee aged care services. See ageing and aged care for more information.

Sport policy

The aim of our sport policy is to support sport in Australia, from our best able bodied and disabled athletes to people playing sport at a community level. See sport for more information.

Last updated: 
21 December 2017