Recommendations of Independent Investigatory Bodies: An Irritant of Improvement?

Yvonne Haigh, Peter Wilkins, David Gilchrist

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

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Many recommendations are made each year in Australia by watchdogs such as Auditors General and Ombudsmen
and by one-off inquiries. They are typically a small part of the overall investigation process, but they often become the main focus after the release of a report so that it is important that we understand how they contribute to public administration.
The recommendations are usually made after a detailed investigation that gathers and analyses information, establishes findings and makes observations on what has happened. The processes used to develop recommendations and the criteria involved could be expected to be critical to their relevance. Therefore, increasing understanding of these contextual factors could be important to ensuring that the recommendations
are of value. This paper identifies the sources and different types of recommendations being made, reviews current approaches
to their development and assesses information sources that provide insights into their contribution. Institutional and other contextual factors relevant to the issues addressed and the public sector entities involved will also be considered. It outlines a generic theory of change for the making of recommendations to assist understanding of the logic and assumptions involved. It is set in the context of broader investigation processes aimed at improving public administration, including considerations of organisational learning and culture. It argues that developing theories of change will assist those involved in the formulation, adoption and implementation of recommendations.
The paper concludes by identifying areas for further research and how this research could add value to the work of investigatory bodies and public administration more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventPublic Sector Research Day: Institute of Public Administration WA - Perth, Australia
Duration: 1 Sept 20161 Sept 2016


WorkshopPublic Sector Research Day


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