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Establishing the Department for Victorian Communities (A) 2009-106.1

26 September 2009



In December 2002 Yehudi Blacher was appointed Secretary of the newly created Department for Victorian Communities (DVC). The Bracks Government had been reelected on 30 November and within a week announced a range of major changes to government departments, including the formation of DVC, which would bring together 15 separate units from eight departments into a new entity. Broader public interest in the value of strong, connected communities was on the rise during this period, and Bracks wanted “to read the pulse of Victorian communities”. In the Premier’s public statement about the changes, he said the new Department would have two key roles: to strengthen communities and to integrate services across the state. It would support eight different ministers. Blacher’s Department had no offices, its staff were spread out in dozens of buildings across Melbourne, and some had reservations about their new Department. Its budget was still to be negotiated and apart from some high level objectives, it had no clear strategy. As Blacher knew, creating departments from scratch was a very rare event. With the Christmas holidays looming, he had some thinking to do.

This case can be used to discuss Machinery of Government changes, particularly on a large scale. It might also be used to consider how seemingly disparate portfolios can be amalgamated into a single department to best effect. Part A outlines the political interests in DVC and early proposals for how it might be structured.

Read more:

  • Part B outlines the organisational strategy at various stages, including operational, policy and implementation strategies.
  • The epilogue gives an overview of the major changes to DVC and the subsequent establishment of the new department.
Authors: Tim Watts
Published Date: 26 September 2009
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Featured Content Length: 4
Content Length: 8
Product Type: Part A, Primary resources