The Engagement Hub

The Engagement Hub is a team of engagement experts, available to APS agencies, who advise public servants about getting the public involved in their work. It would also deliver and coordinate some of the other Concepts to improve public participation.



What it might look like: The team hard at work at the Engagement Hub! The team would be physically located in an APS agency, and might be staffed with secondees from APS departments.


Why the contribution is important

Organisations that succeed in getting more public involvement in their work have a point in common: A Hub that builds capability and coordinates engagement work. The Engagement Hub would be a crucial lynchpin to any big improvements, and making all the other Concepts happen.

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  • How could we get the public involved in it, including in its development and governance
  • How would you get funding and staff for it? How would you get buy-in? What would be its governance arrangements?
  • New teams doing reform can sometimes get more work than they can handle, or subjected to unrealistic expectations. What are the first things the Hub should concentrate on? Then, how do you make it sustainable and enduring?
  • And: Can you think of a catchy name for the hub?

by ProjectTeam on February 23, 2018 at 12:25PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.1
Based on: 9 votes


  • Posted by ry February 26, 2018 at 14:07

    If done well, this could make a big difference - both in developing expertise and helping coordinate engagement effort across different agencies. Some people end up talking to a different agency every day of the week and get frustrated by it.
    It would be important to make sure they aren't seen as comms people or event organisers - engagement needs to be genuine to work.
  • Posted by kleo7036 February 26, 2018 at 15:29

    A small team of specialists, with a clear mission, can achieve a lot. I think this is a good idea.
  • Posted by milenaa February 26, 2018 at 17:46

    I am not sure if this is the best idea. I agree that if done well this could succeed, but often a lot of units built around a specialist skill/service for hire model become siloed (e,g innovation labs, data analysis units, strategic policy teams etc.). The result is that those skills don't get as widely distributed across the workforce as you'd wish. A lot of outreach on behalf of the engagement hub would be required to make it work.
  • Posted by deanowilliams March 01, 2018 at 10:18

    Hi, have a look at Department of Industry Bizlab before recreating another team.
  • Posted by krose March 01, 2018 at 10:22

    Could be incorporated into an already existing 'lab' or 'hub' who are already doing out reach eg Public Sector Innovation Network at BizLab in Industry
  • Posted by Allison March 05, 2018 at 09:51

    I like this idea in theory, assuming it is done well. There is far too much "reinventing of the wheel", particularly in Federal Government agencies I would say. For example with Stakeholder Management Software, so many agencies are still trying to build their own software, or customise a sales-focused CRM for it, when there are off the shelf stakeholder management software products available (Australian companies too!) that have been designed specifically for this purpose.

    Ideally I'd like to see a position in the team for a representative from a community group - perhaps a secondment style rotating position for 6 months. This could be good for cross fertilization of ideas and values.

    The problem I have seen with agencies that have tried to set up a similar hub of innovation, is that they generally had no power to insist that various sections of their Department follow any of their standards, use any of the tools they were trying to implement to get consistency across the Department, or even commit to any ideas they came up with. Lots of good ideas and innovations simply died due to lack of cooperation and commitment. So if you do set up this Hub, give it some teeth and budget!
  • Posted by WorkinginCivic March 05, 2018 at 14:32

    I agree with milenaa that the engagement hub would likely become siloed, or that agencies would consult it as a 'tick the box' exercise.

    I can remember only one example in the APS - a taskforce working on a particular matter that required extensive public consulation - where a team hired an expert to write an engagement/comms plan. Rather than being part of an engagement hub, I think these people should be permanent hires, and sit within the same team communications team that writes departmental speeches.
  • Posted by markimark March 07, 2018 at 12:23

    A better idea than the other Network idea proposed, because this is about a dedicated team that has the expertise and a specific role to help agencies/teams engage better the public. All the big agencies should chip in to fund this proportionately to their size and expected use of the Hub. The initial stage of the Hub would be to promote it and take responsibility for some of the other ideas here, such as the online directory one or online toolkit one. After establishing themselves, then they could start to work directly with people that need their help to organise public engagement meet ups.
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