Building the capacity of your organisation

Hamilton Stone has developed a program targeted to non-government organisations, including not-for-profits and industry associations. The goal of the program is to support the non-government sector to be better at engagement with government. It is made up of topics that can be delivered either as a series, or as individual subjects of particular interest to an organisation. Each one can be delivered at different levels of depth and detail, depending on your organisation's existing capacity, and your capacity-building goals.


Achieving change is hard if you don't understand the system you are trying to influence, or how it works.

We describe Australia's political institutions, and some of the key opportunities for influence within them.


The public service can be your friend. But only if you treat it well.

We describe the role of the public service to support government, and the different ways that role is performed. We look at key features of public sector culture, and the tensions within bureaucracy. We help you understand what helps public servants and what doesn't; the constraints they operate under and the opportunities they look for, so you can build effective relationships with them.

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The Australian Parliament’s processes are critical to policy and politics. How does it work?

We describe Parliament and its two houses. We look at how MPs are chosen and what they do once elected. We discuss the different aspects of parliamentary work that impact on policy and on non-government actors, such as legislating, parliamentary questions, committee inquiries, and budget scrutiny.


Achieving change requires clear policy goals, clearly stated.

We describe processes for developing your policy ideas. We discuss ways to make the case for them, grounded in values, relationships, evidence, narrative, and credibility. We cover the strengths and limitations of evidence-based policy, and how to anticipate and engage with conflicting interests. It can include exploration of a case study or subject currently under consideration within your organisation.


Advocacy on behalf of members can be a high-wire act.

We look at how to work on advocacy with members from Board level down, how to prepare for the planning, what to anticipate in order to avoid failure, and how to design to achieve success.


How do you consult with stakeholders, and how do you want government to consult?

There are many engagement strategies, but most organisations use only a few of them. We get you to reflect on what you see as the goals of engagement; survey the range of available techniques; and discuss their place in modern policy-making and in your organisation. We encourage stronger engagement by government with communities, and show you how to help drive that. We talk about the engagement and empowerment  of groups whose voices are not always heard.


Submission writing is important in almost all formal policy processes.

We cover all the preparation you need to do before a submission is written, such as understanding the audience, the politics and the objective; the writing of the submission, including tailoring key messages; and what needs to be done after making a submission, including how to judge what follow-up is needed, and how to maximise the return from the work that has been invested in it.


Shaping policy requires influence in the parliamentary sphere.

We help you understand how parliament works, identify potential points of access for your organisation, learn to engage with parliamentarians, make strategic choices around parliamentary engagement, and clarify how best to achieve your organisation's objectives.