Past events

Monday March 18, 2024

Secretary Series: Blair Comley PSM

  • Secretary Series: Blair Comley PSM image

On 14 March, we hosted our Secretary Series with Blair Comley PSM, Secretary of the Department of Health Aged Care, where he spoke about the department’s capability review, strategy, and building narratives. Katherine Jones PSM, Attorney-General’s Department Secretary and IPAA ACT President, hosted the event.

Here are some of Blair’s key points:
💡The capability review saw the department engage with 60 stakeholders from within and outside the department
💡Staff highlighted the inclusive and supportive culture
💡Staff recognised the department had stepped up significantly during COVID
💡During reviews, focus on a few key themes particularly if they have ripple effects on the whole organisation
💡The three key focus points of the department are: Lifting strategic policy capability, better engaging stakeholders, empowering executive leaders
💡Know the story of the department, tell it, and shape it
💡Know objectives, transition path, and status quo
💡Policy proposals are drafted by people who deeply care about the topic – but they also need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly
💡Write for someone who is interested but doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of the topic
💡Data needs to underpin policy
💡Create a strategic map of the health and aged care system that is well-understood by everyone in and outside the department
💡 Population health is affected by social determinants of health, behaviours, genetics and the health system
💡Be clear when a stakeholder’s argument isn’t compelling to give them the chance to review it
💡People closer to the action should be engaging with stakeholders
💡There is no national health narrative, the department should play a key role in developing it
💡Devolve where possible – massive rework of proposals up and down the line is disempowering
💡Give more responsibility to the EL2 for sign-off – it empowers people, gives time for strategy, and reduces risk
💡Improving the wellbeing of Australians is a powerful vision

During the event, we also awarded our 2023 IPAA Fellowships. Joining the ranks of fellowship from the ACT were:

🏅Katherine Jones PSM, Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department IPAA ACT)
🏅Dr Damian West PSM (posthumous) (ACT)
🏅David Hazlehurst, CEO, Services Australia (ACT)

Transcript – a copy of the transcript is available here.
Video – a video of the event is below or can be viewed on the IPAA ACT Vimeo channel.



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