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A couple of years ago we thought about what we wished we'd known when we were public servants - and what we learned on the way, often the hard way!


Ministers and executives are time-poor and advice to them needs to be clear, compelling and reliable. But expectations of public servants are often tacit rather than explicit.

So out of this thinking we developed our 'Craft of Advising Government' courses - where people can step outside of their work, put themselves in the shoes of decision-makers and explore what good advice and briefs look like. 

Since 2017 we've delivered these to over 2300 public servants in 24 government departments and agencies. Since March 2020, we have refined our courses and have also been delivering these via livestream. From October 2023, we will be offering clients a choice of course delivery either online via livestream or in person.   

We work with discrete teams and mixed groups of public servants.

Craft of Advising Government Program 

Our method

Our method lifts teams out of transactional, process thinking, shifting to a focus on outcomes and people.

We use work samples provided by participants,* or our fictional samples, to recreate the environment in which Ministers and Directors-General/Secretaries receive advice.

Using adult learning principles, our lively, interactive and practical courses aim to build public sector capability in providing sound advice that’s easily understood.

Participants like our stories from our time as public servants and what we learned along the way.

* We will sign a confidentiality agreement with clients before reviewing work samples 


We give people unique resources to use in their day to day work. 


Managers and directors are encouraged to do the course as well as primary briefing authors. Executives are also invited to join at the begining and end of the course. 

As well, we offer a course for mixed groups of public servants allowing individual registrations.

We offer teams a progress review several months after the workshop series. This allows managers, directors, executives and their teams to assess their progress and make any adjustments.


We offer livestream delivery in addition to in person courses.



Course For Teams




For public service teams who write and/or approve written advice - suitable for all levels from primary authors through to managers, directors and executives 

Course for teams (in person or livestream)

  • 11 hour course for up to 16 people (in person) or 12 people (livestream) 

  • Realistic, hands-on exercises to put people in the shoes of busy decision makers reading written advice and receiving fast-paced verbal advice

  • Opportunities to reflect and discuss strengths and areas for improvement (in general terms) of the work samples provided by the group (Note: we will sign a confidentiality agreement with clients before reviewing work samples).

  • Facilitated discussion with a departmental senior executive to provide insights into decision makers' briefing preferences in the portfolio

  • Feedback to each participant about their work sample

  • Multiple activities to apply our methods and improve poorly written fictional briefs that are typical of different types of advice provided in public service briefing notes

  • Introduction of a developmental framework for advice which provides a shared language for team reflection and improvement

  • Discussion of who does what in the chain of advice - the roles and expectations of primary authors and those guiding/approving written advice

  • Practical resources, including top tips for writing excellent briefs and tips for supervisors reviewing briefs

Course tickets FOR INDIVIDUAL public servants




Public servants who write briefs and/or guide and approve them (Officer level to Managers)

Intensive one-day (livestream)

8 hour course for up to 12 people to:

  • Put people in the shoes of busy decision makers to confirm what is needed to deliver clear, compelling advice

  • Explore what good advice is (and isn’t)

  • Discuss the role and value add of each level in the advice chain

  • Analyse what makes written and verbal briefings good and not so good

  • Practise crafting succinct briefs that meet the needs of decision makers

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