Established in 1995, the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Melbourne (CPP) is committed to supporting sustained improvement in public governance, management and policy-making through research, teaching and knowledge exchange. It works directly with public, not-for profit and private sector managers involved in the making of public policy and the delivery of public services at local, national and transnational levels. The Centre contributes to coursework programs, including the Master in Public Policy and Management and Master of International Relations, offers research degree supervision and hosts public forums and debate. CPP hosts its own blog ‘Policy Matters’ and we are delighted to have the opportunity to develop a new blog space in partnership with the journal Global Policy.
The contemporary challenges facing public servants – and other social actors participating in public governance processes– are daunting. Complex policy problems test our established modes of policy implementation and service delivery, prompting us to look for new ways of designing and organizing services. Often, this means involving users, voluntary organizations and businesses in new ways. In turn, such changes raise new regulatory and accountability dilemmas. A more sophisticated, diverse and internationally-oriented public questions the authority of public servants and makes different demands of public services, presenting challenges of how to respond in an inclusive, democratic way that protects those who are otherwise marginalized and disadvantaged. Global economic uncertainties and increasing patterns of global interconnection pose questions about what it is possible for 'the state' – at any level – to do or fund, opening up new debates about the role of individuals and communities in contributing to their own well-being, and encouraging us to think more about the potential of alternative forms of local and transnational organizing.
These debates are taking place in different ways in different parts of the world informed by distinct histories, traditions and trajectories. But the debates and the policy challenges at the heart of them are also linked, vertically and horizontally through local, national and international policy networks and institutions. A key ambition for the Centre is to generate new insights and learning from these shared though distinct concerns by facilitating interactions with academics, policy makers and practitioners locally, nationally and internationally. This blog aims to support the achievement of that ambition by bringing contemporary comment, analysis and reflection on global public policy concerns from our colleagues into conversation with the wider community of scholars and policy makers who make up the readership of Global Policy.