About the Social Policy Institute


To respond to the need to develop and reform social policies to promote sustainability and equity by delivering policy relevant evidence and capacity support in Australia and the Asia and Pacific region.


To become Australia’s leading Institute for social policy analysis and training.

Commitments and values

  • To actively partner with Australian governments and the non-government sector to deliver the best evidence to support social policy development
  • Undertake high quality, interdisciplinary research on key social policy issues
  • To inform and contribute to policy-making processes and promote discussion of major social policy issues, in Australia, across the region and globally
  • Foster networks and promote collaboration between researchers, policy makers and practitioners and the community on social policy issues

Core capabilities

The Social Policy Institute is built around core strengths of expertise at the Crawford School and The Australian National University as well as other leading Australian and international universities. The Institute is committed to multi-disciplinary and collaborative research. The SPI encompasses the Children’s Policy Centre in the Crawford School and cooperates closely with the HC Coombs Policy Forum and other Centres and research groups within the ANU including in the College of Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Business and Economics, as well as with international research networks.

Key activities

The Social Policy Institute focuses on:

  • Analysing the social challenges and problems facing Australia and the Asia and Pacific region
  • Assessing the social impacts of public policy reform and evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of alternative policy responses
  • Improving data and evidence for decision making in social policy

Priorities for 2014

The Social Policy Institute was launched in June 2013 and has undertaken or planned a range of specialised workshops and training courses including on the contemporary social policy environment, framing social policy in Australia, research priorities in relation to prevention and early intervention of deep and persistent disadvantage. The Institute has also held academic seminars on current social policy issues and has a series of working papers in preparation.

Priorities for the coming year include:

In close collaboration the HC Coombs Policy Forum developing a series of seminars and workshops to address key social policy issues for the next decade. These workshops will be cross-Government, but focused on the main social policy departments and involve academics across campus and beyond (domestic and international). They include:

  • The citizen/state relationship and welfare conditionality
  • Participation: in what and why?
  • A life course perspective on social services
  • The distribution of welfare spending: what scope for reform?
  • Advances in program and service delivery: what next?
  • Framing social policy: from our current system to long-term reform; How to engender a long-term perspective in social policy decision-making?

Delivering an Expert Session on Social Policy for the G20 Conference of the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society 11-12 March 2014.


Professor Peter Whiteford
Director, Social Policy Institute, The Australian National University
T 02 6125 4295
E peter.whiteford@anu.edu.au

Updated:  13 April 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team