Qualitative Research Network Forum - Qualitative research and the policy process

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Qualitative research and the policy process: How can qualitative research better inform decision making processes?

Speakers for the forum include:

Sean Innis – Special Advisor to the Productivity Commission

Sean Innis was appointed as Special Adviser to the Productivity Commission in July 2016. Prior to joining the Commission, Sean was inaugural head of the Policy Office in the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS). The Policy Office was established to drive DSS’ vision of being Australia’s pre-eminent social policy agency.
Sean was appointed to the senior executive service in 2001, and has held a range of senior executive positions in DSS (its predecessors) and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has been responsible for development of policy across a broad range of economic and social issues. As head of the Policy Office, he was responsible for the team that developed Australia’s investment approach to welfare. While in PM&C he chaired the 2005 Welfare to Work Task Force and cross portfolio team that developed the 2004 energy white paper — Securing Australia’s Energy Future. Sean has been responsible for delivery of a number of major government programmes.

Susan Helyar – Director, ACT Council of Social Services

Susan Helyar is committed to building a more just and inclusive community, where everyone lives with dignity. Her career has focused on making a difference - as a social worker, in policy roles in ACT and Commonwealth governments, and as the leader of services development advocacy work for UnitingCare Australia. Susan's current role is the Director of the ACT Council of Social Service. Susan's direct practice included working in community health, mental health and disability employment. Her social policy work included service development and policy reform with a focus on mental health, childcare, gambling, women's and children's health and social inclusion. She has supported development of the social work profession as a field educator.

Karen Kellard – Director of Qualitative Research, Social Research Centre

Karen has worked in social research and evaluation for over 18 years, joining the Social Research Centre in February 2012 from the UK. Karen now leads all of the Social Research Centre’s qualitative research. Karen has directed, and worked on, a number of large and small-scale qualitative research studies (including longitudinal research) as well as studies that have utilised a mixed method approach. Current and recent examples include qualitative evaluation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (with Flinders University), longitudinal qualitative research on young risky drivers (for the Transport Accident Commission), strategy research for Victoria Police, research on corruption in the public sector (for ANU) and research exploring community views on Australia’s progress (in non-GDP terms) for the Australian Council of Learned Academies. Karen is a full member of the Australian Market and Social Research Society (including a committee member of the AMSRS Social Research Network) and a member of the Australasian Evaluation Society.

Kim Grey – Senior Advisor, Evaluation Policy and Advice Section, Indigenous Affairs Group, PM&C

Kim Grey is a Senior Advisor in Information and Evaluation Branch, Indigenous Affairs Group, in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Honorary Fellow at Charles Darwin University. Kim has over 20 years’ experience designing evaluations, ranging across impact, participatory and theory-based or realist approaches. Her work covers whole-of-government projects, and the intersection of inter-cultural research practice and social science theory in support of public policy decision-making. It ranges across diverse areas such as safety, wellbeing, employment and early childhood, youth and adult education. Starting as a social scientist, Kim is keenly interested in research methods and their application in areas of complexity. Kim is currently studying a Masters in Evaluation by research at the University of Melbourne, examining use of social science theory in evaluation. Early in her career, Kim was offered the chance to lead a longitudinal survey of Indigenous job seekers, which started an ongoing process of learning about evaluation with Indigenous people. Kim is also an active member of the Australasian Evaluation Society.