Policy in Focus: Royal Commissions

Policy in Focus presents key media reports, blog posts and expert opinions on policy and social issues relevant to royal commissions of the past, present and future. These resources also provide expert commentary and in-depth analysis on the subject of royal commissions as a tool for policy change.

Royal commissions are ad hoc bodies established by the head of state, on behalf of the Crown and on the advice of the Government. The Federal or state Government instigating the royal commission sets the terms of reference, appoints the commissioner (or commissioners), and decides the funding allocations.

Frank Exon | Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA)

Read  New policy influence research highlights clear lessons for practice

The Victorian royal commission will look specifically at the suitability of Crown Resorts Ltd (the parent company) to be the operator of the Melbourne casino. The terms of reference are narrowly oriented towards Crown’s compliance with Victorian law and regulation, rather than focusing on regulation more broadly.

Read Melbourne finally has a Crown royal commission — is this going to stop crime and gambling harm?

These entities go to great lengths to understand major events and challenges, and to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. But royal commissions sometimes miss opportunities for policy influence, and they've been subject to criticisms. They're said to be expensive, time-consuming, inherently political and, most damningly, ineffective...

So, when and how do royal commissions successfully wield policy influence? And what actions can commissioners take to raise the likelihood that their policy recommendations will lead to policy change?

Read Royal commissions and policy influence