Industry outlook: a real world case study in policy and governance

QUT Online’s Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance will open career pathways. Develop frameworks for approaching important issues with a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance.

Effective policy formation and governance

Good policy formation is about bringing together a range of information from science, the community, stakeholders and government in order to find a solution. Policy recommendations are developed by highly skilled policy officers who ensure the decision makers have the best information available.

Every issue is complex, but policy formation at its heart is about finding the optimal way of providing decision makers with the best policy recommendations so they can make informed policy decisions.

The three pillars of policy and governance

The three pillars of policy and governance comprise:

  • Science: peer-reviewed scientific research (particularly in the social sciences) that support policy recommendations
  • Policy process: a consistent process that ensures decision-makers have the evidence they need to enable well-informed decision making
  • Selling the policy: politicians and government departments use this information to advocate for policy implementation.

Regardless of the issue, these three pillars of policy and governance are crucial building blocks if the policy is to be legislated – driving meaningful change in the lives of Australians.

Frameworks for approaching an issue: drugs and pill testing

QUT Online’s Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance explores real world case studies to prepare students for policy processes in government. One of the issues explored, for example, is the issue of drugs and pill testing at music festivals and party venues, which is currently undergoing review in the New South Wales and Victorians parliaments.

The issue came to prominence after a number of deaths occurred at a high-profile music festival in 2018. Festival-goers had consumed illicit and unregulated drugs resulting in party drug-related overdoses.

Thorough process leading to meaningful change

Pill testing, like many issues that governments seek to address, is multi-faceted, complex and involves diverse stakeholders. A consistent and thorough process must be followed for an effective policy to be formed and implemented.

Issues must be interrogated with a high level of precision, while ensuring that a systematic communication process is in place – one that asks right questions the right stakeholders. Depending on the issue, this isn’t always straightforward. The pill testing issue, for instance, presents numerous complications, largely due to the nature of drugs being illegal, making it a challenge to provide an open forum where those affected are willing to openly discuss their experiences.

The Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance provides a framework for approaching a complex issue like pill testing, foregrounding the importance of posing essential question such as:

  • What does success look like and is success measurable?
  • Who are the key stakeholders?
  • What is the best way to bring key frontline stakeholders – including drug users themselves and the police charged with upholding public safety – into the conversation?

Regardless of the issue, individuals and communities need to be included in the investigation. Experts need to be identified and addressed. In the case of pill testing, stakeholders would include those working in public health, scientists specialising in the chemistry of illicit drugs, teenagers and other party goers, and police officers who enforce the law at events.

Policy and governance with QUT Online

By completing the Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance, you will have the skills to approach a complex issue like pill testing, unpack the intricacies, and draft informed policy recommendations that make a positive impact on society.

“When you study policy and governance with QUT Online, you will learn how to research and present policy options and make recommendations that enable key decision makers to make the best choices for our communities.”  Mark Lauchs, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at QUT

Once you attain your qualification, you will be prepared to embark upon, or take the next step in, your career with the public service, working in the field of public policy. You will also have the opportunity to work as a policy officer in non-government settings, as many organisations and companies in the not-for-profit and private sector work with government on a regular basis.


Study a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance today to learn new skills in drafting policy recommendations and cabinet submissions. The skill set you develop is comprehensive and generic, opening the door to policy and public service work irrespective of department – and at local, state or federal levels of government.

Ready to apply?

Apply online by filling out our application form or speak to a Course Consultant on 1300 104 196.

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