SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment -Flinders University Australia.

Subject Code & Title : SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing
Assessment Type : Assignment
Purpose :
1.Every point in the purpose section needs to be related to the recommendations
2. is like the sub heading gives a very high level summary of the issue and what you are writing the briefing about and what you want the Minister to do (ie consider the policy issue or make a decision about or act on the issue in the way you are going to advise in the briefing).
3.You should be direct key phrases include To brief the Minister about or To provide the Minister with options for or To seek the Ministers approval for consideration of
SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment – Flinders University Australia.

SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment -Flinders University Australia.

MINISTER :
• Address the information to only one Minister – State policy issues to State Ministers Federal common wealth policy issues to Federal Ministers.
• You will need to research and check that the Minister is correct.This may mean consulting the Federal and State parliament website provided, but also the text or other references to determine exactly what is a State social policy issue? And what is Federal policy issue?

TITLE
• is like a HEADLINE introducing the Minister to the issue and getting her/his attention quickly
• A common error was being open-ended or vague

SUMMARY
• The Minister needs only the most important facts supporting your proposal and recommendation.
• Summary information must expand upon the purpose. However in doing this,include only a summary of the key issues the background is for supporting detail explanation.
• A common error was providing too much detail in the summary.The detail supporting the summary belongs in the background.

BACKGROUND
• Background should clarify, not repeat information in the summary, and providing more detailed evidence of the policy issue.
• Two reasons why some background points do not adequately support the summary are:

1.The background point should have been included in the summary to begin with, but wasn’t.

2.The background point is not directly relevant to the summary point, and should not have been included at all.
• A common error was including important pieces of summary information in the background information and or the recommendations section

ADVICE FROM OTHERS
• Only list people/organisations – and their advice should only be included because it is linked to either key evidence or a preferred option for action.
• Common errors:
o Listing people and organisations and then an outline of what their advice was.Their advice should be have already been either summarised in the summary or included as background.
o Introducing issues or background to issues here
o Deleting this section from the template – leave it with N/A (not applicable)

SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment – Flinders University Australia.

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RECOMMENDATIONS
• Every point in the recommendations section needs to be related to the purpose
• First flagged or introduced in the purpose ie the Minister is made aware straight away in broad terms about the problem and your proposal
• Addressed in a bit more detail in in the summary ie the Minister quickly gets a strong grasp of the main issues driving the problem and the solution that you are pointing towards
• Supported by further detail and accompanying evidence in the background if this is necessary
• Action-orientated (eg That the Minister notes; that the Minister approves but never That the Minister should must or needs to)
• Focused on one issue or action per Recommendation

RECOMMENDATIONS are not:
• to include explanation of comments (the detail should have been already provided in the briefing)
• to be double-barrelled (ie cramming two or more recommendations into one).The Minister might have to reject the whole recommendation because s/he didn’t like one of its sub-components.

STYLE :
• Sentence construction and grammar need to be checked in order for your argument to flow well.
TIP read your briefing aloud. How does it sound to you? Alternatively read your briefing to someone who can give you constructive feedback about expression and flow of content.
• Avoid personal and unsubstantiated assessment/opinion or reflections examples seen so far include obviously it seems to me that I think I believe from my point of view
• Avoid idioms eg it goes without saying commonsense says
• Avoid value laden or sensational language eg bad wrong ubiquitous or should
• State acronyms in full when first used in a briefing then follow with the acronym in brackets [eg the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS)]. After this you can use the acronym in the document.Never use the acronym ATSI it is disrespectful and should be written in full Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people every time.

Common errors across Summary Background and Recommendations sections
• Each dot point contains multiple issues assign one issue per dot point. TIP if your point includes linking language like also or and or in addition to it is likely that you are putting an extra issue into your point
• No logical flow there must be a logical flow in your argument. No matter how strong the information is if this information is not written concisely and is spread out all over other sections of the briefing it is too difficult to follow your argument.
• Providing new information in the recommendations section. All information in recommendation should already be identified in the summary of issues and the purpose.
• Confusion as to which section requires which content:
o Including important summary information in the background and or funding comment and or recommendations sections
o Including summary and background information in the recommendations section
o Including background information in the summary of issues
o Including summary of issues information in the recommendations

SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment – Flinders University Australia.

Common errors across briefings in general
• Failing to check relate the Recommendations back to the Purpose of the briefing if you can’t see a line of sight then neither will the Minister.
• Including personal opinion about what needs to happen. never use the term I or we at the start or within a sentence. You are writing as a public servant.
• Introducing new material into Recommendations (which then lacked context and evidence)
• Providing options that are not linked to the briefing content
• Being vague eg Increase public facilities increase funding did not tell the Minister which facilities by how much how much funding, or for what.
• Including Recommendations that only another government Minister would have the authority to act on.

A note on Legislation :
• Shouldn’t be used as the basis for the briefing, however some students have.This worked well only where the briefing focused on a particular part of the legislation eg explicitly named schedules which made this tightly focused and possible to address within the word count.
• When referring to legislation for the first time (Acts and Bills) – State the legislation and date in full and italicise this followed in non-italicised brackets (the Act). Eg Social Services Legislation Amendment Welfare Reform Bill 2017 (the Bill). You can then refer to the legislation or draft legislation as the Act or the Bill for the remainder of the briefing.

SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment – Flinders University Australia.

SOAD9111 Ministerial Briefing Assignment -Flinders University Australia.

Other useful tips:
• The briefing is to the Minister. Ensure your communication is professional, respectful and not emotive. Remember you are writing as a public servant.
• Consider the purpose of your briefing and make sure all of your writing links back to the purpose of your briefing note.
• Your title should be linked to the content of your briefing.
• Review the grading rubric, this will give you an idea of what we are looking for.
• The briefing template provided in FLO must be used.
• Address the assessment criteria.
• Briefing notes are professional documents and should be objective and evidenced based This means they must be referenced. Be aware of your use of language i.e. consider instead of must or need to or should.
• Avoid the trap of assumed knowledge Write as though the person reading your briefing knows nothing about the issue you are briefing about. Therefore, avoid beginning sentences with words like obviously.
• Why are you recommending something? How does it affect the particular group you are writing about?
• Understand what jurisdiction your topic at hand sits within. If your topic is a federal matter, brief a federal Minister.
• Similarly if your topic is a state issue ensure you provide state context It is great to provide national context in terms of data or figures but then drill down into why it is relevant for this particular State.
• Be familiar with appropriate terminology when writing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
• Read your briefing out loud to yourself to make sure your sentences are not too long. If you are out of breath reading a sentence or the sentence is no longer making sense it is too long.
• Use spell and grammar check.
• Avoid referring to yourself in the briefing. No first person or use of I or we.
• Usually a Ministerial briefing would not be referenced in the same manner as an academic paper How ever this is an academic exercise so you are required to reference your submission References form page 3 of your briefing and are listed in the Attachments section as
o Attachment 1 – References
• Use a combination of primary and secondary resources and ensure your resources are credible. It is insufficient to solely rely on a few websites for your data, particularly if it has not been verified. It is insufficient to rely on the media as your only source. figures but then go on to highlight what proportion of those figures are representative of South Australia.
• You only have 2 pages so write tight Writing succinctly is a skill and takes practice The aim of a briefing note is to communicate complex issues and recommendations with as few words as possible.

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