2019 has seen significant and rapid growth in the size, reach and potential impact of the National Regulators Community of Practice (NRCoP). There are new jurisdiction-based chapters in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia and programs of activities in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in addition to Melbourne, where the NRCoP originated. Each chapter has its own committee in addition to the national steering group, with the Victorian members of the latter also taking on the role of the chapter committee.
The NRCoP numbers close to 3000 regulators across Commonwealth, State/Territory and local governments and across every regulatory sector.
Its increasing prominence is amplified by the connection with ANZSOG, a well respected and high profile education and research organisation established and owned by all the governments of Australia and New Zealand to help lift the quality of public leadership and thereby deliver better citizen outcomes. ANZSOG’s commitment to quality has been reflected in the standard of NRCoP offerings, including seminars and an annual forum.
Many of the regulators now engaging with the NRCoP, including in governance roles, are new to the community of practice and may also be only distantly aware of what ANZSOG is and how it operates. In combination with its rapid growth, these factors suggest it is timely to articulate with greater clarity the underlying philosophy, core objectives and associated processes and procedures for continuing to advance the NRCoP.
The current Terms of Reference, drawn directly from the original informal network in Victoria, state:
The national regulators community of practice is an active network of public sector regulators, regulatory policy makers and others with a scholarly or professional interest in regulation, who are keen to learn from and with each other to deliver better citizen outcomes
It is proposed to modify this statement in the light of the growth and increasing maturity of the NRCoP, as follows:
The national regulators community of practice is an active network of public sector regulators from all three levels of government and from every regulatory sector, professional background, role and level of seniority, who are keen to learn from and with each other. Its objectives are to support participants and agencies to become more professional and capable regulators and to promote the public value and importance of regulation as a key task of government and thereby, to deliver better citizen outcomes. The NRCoP also welcomes regulatory policy makers and others with a scholarly or professional interest in regulation but its primary focus is on inspiring, connecting and building the professionalism of practising regulators.
The NRCoP fits the scholarly definition of a community of practice and is committed to continue to do so (see http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice)
To be a genuine community of practice for regulators, two potential roles for the NRCoP are out of scope
Out of scope role #1: being a platform for dissemination and promotion of, or engagement with, the policy settings of governments.
Out of scope role #2: representing or speaking for regulators in the design or implementation of regulatory policy settings.
The NRCoP is and seeks to remain a genuinely bottom up and horizontal initiative and its committee members are chosen for their individual knowledge and enthusiasm and tasked to support participants to connect and learn. The committees are not constituted to act as a representative body and have no mandate to do so.
The NRCoP was founded and is intended to operate as a unified national body. Unlike, say, the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) network, it is not a loose federation of autonomous jurisdictional chapters operating under a common brand.
This reflects two issues intrinsic to the NRCoP:
The importance of the annual forum in the overall footprint of the NRCoP cannot be overstated:
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