As part of its commitment to Closing the Gap, and after the successful implementation of the federal government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy in 2015, the West Australian Government announced the Aboriginal Procurement Policy (the Policy), partly with the aim to improve employment outcomes for Indigenous people.
In 2017, WA’s Department of Finance were in a bind. It knew that including Indigenous people in policy development was crucial but doing so meant it had to overcome several challenges. The Department had various policy parameters, including fulfilling the newly elected first-term government’s election promise within a short time frame, but it understood that to achieve policy success, buy-in was critical from two key stakeholders: the Aboriginal business sector and WA government agencies.
The Department faced entrenched distrust of the government from the Aboriginal business sector, and a reluctance to change procurement practices within government agencies. It identified that for the policy to succeed it would be critical to have a consultation and collaboration process, which was both culturally sensitive to Indigenous needs and included areas for stakeholder input to into the development of the Policy.
The case study outlines the steps taken by the Department to develop that process and demonstrates the benefit of genuine stakeholder consultation and collaboration throughout the policy development, implementation and evaluation processes. The key lesson from the case study is that for certain policies or under specific conditions – in this instance a policy that seeks to address an issue within a marginalised group - genuine consultation and collaboration with stakeholders is critical to the whole policy process and for the lifespan of the policy
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