Policy Officer/Analyst

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Policy officers and analysts work together to undertake policy and project work in relation to the services or areas of responsibility of the department or organisation that employs them. The work of policy officers/analysts covers a diverse range of policy requirements from the management of environmental resources to the allocation of funding in health.

Generally, policy officers undertake support and research work for policy analysts. Tasks may include: conducting research to assist in the formation of policy, reviewing existing policies and their implementation, analysing government/organisational initiatives and undertaking social research projects which may involve:

  • Literature reviews
  • Constructing designs for interviews
  • Carrying out interviews and focus groups
  • Entering data
  • Preparing draft research reports
  • Presenting important issues arising from research to the attention of the internal policy committee
  • Develop policy position statements in response to research outcomes.

The title of policy analyst (sometimes called a policy advisor) usually refers to a more senior role in a policy team carrying the responsibility of analysing and providing advice on policies guiding the design, implementation and modification of government and commercial operations and programs. Tasks may include:

  • Making recommendations for new policies
  • Preparing briefs and speeches for cabinet members
  • Assessing financial implications of policies
  • Working with legislation and keeping up to date with government policy decisions
  • Liaising and consulting with relevant stakeholders when preparing policy position statements
  • Attending relevant conferences and present papers

Policy analysts need to be able to work well in teams and under the pressure of deadlines, be methodical, motivated, well organised and inquisitive and be able to make well advised decisions. Experience in face-to-face service delivery, such as working directly with clients, is useful for policy analysts. Community work and work in non-governmental organisations is particularly useful for those interested in social policy. Experience conducting research and interpreting statistics is also useful.