Since the 1990’s the federal government and most provincial governments have eliminated 'in- house' policy units. If you want to get government to do something you have to learn to do public policy yourself. Sean Moore
Stacey Corriveau at the BC Centre for Social Enterprise refers to Sean Moore, one of Canada's most successful public policy advocates, as the Godfather of lobbying. He's either that or a successful trapper. He knows all the informal and formal political 'trap-lines' in Ottawa and where to look for them in other capital cities in the country. He's a good man to have on your side if you are trying to understand the habitat of government. Especially if you want to 'bag' a policy change and become a successful government advocate.
Many advocates today don’t realize that government is changing the way they think and act. They don’t realize the political and bureaucratic terrain has changed. As Sean Moore observes in the quote above, most governments in Canada no longer have policy ‘shops.’ They no longer employ people to scan the landscape for changing needs, to identify emerging challenges, to research new approaches, to anticipate solutions to tough policy issues.
Advocates who expect government to implement their solution may be dealing with people who aren’t aware there is a problem in the first place. You may be providing answers to a problem they didn’t know they had! That's twice as tough.
You have to change your assumptions about government's capacity to receive your advice, how you interact, where you start and how you communicate. You have to do a lot more of the heavy lifting if you want to advance your issue in a timely manner and increase your chances of success.
Thankfully Sean has developed a series of workshops to assist us become more proficient at doing it ourselves. After a successful career in the corporate world he is devoting his time to improve the lobby and advocacy skills of the community sector.
He has taught many of us how to write government briefs based on the format public servants use to prepare submissions to Cabinet. As a result hard pressed over worked public servants have an almost- ready document they can easily adapt as a Cabinet or Ministerial briefing document.
'Do it yourself public policy' is also an attitude. Thanks to Sean's coaching, PLAN held its own Federal- Provincial meetings as we lobbied through the implementation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan. These were meetings among public servants from across the country that would not have taken place otherwise. We were able to establish an atmosphere of collaboration devoid of the positioning when more formal federal provincial meetings are held. We attracted good attendance and even more productive discussions which contributed to the fast tracking of the first ever RDSP in the world.
PLAN and the PLAN Institute are proud sponsors of Sean's first set of new Do It Yourself Public Policy workshops. They take place Thursday and Friday November 25/26 for everyone and all day Saturday November 27th for individuals with disabilities their families and supporters. These have never been offered before.
You can obtain more information including workshop content and costs by clicking here.
Come see why Stacey and I are proud members of Sean's rather large 'god-family'.