Ideas in Action

December 1, 2014 | Posted by: Nick Field

Sometimes policy changes don’t come with the luxury of time

Here at Cube we have been discussing the challenges facing government departments after an election, and the one that keeps coming up is the need to implement policies quickly without the normal lead up time usually required for implementation.

We recently shared some of our own public value stories within Cube Group, highlighting projects where we feel we have really made a difference to the community. One that came to mind for me was from a few years ago when Victoria Police had to implement the ‘hoon’ legislation in three months.

‘Hoon’ legislation

The Road Safety and Other Acts (Vehicle Impoundment) Act 2005 gave Victoria Police new powers to impound vehicles for 48 hours if certain driving offences were committed. This included excessively exceeding the speed limit and improper use of a motor vehicle. It quickly became known as ‘hoon’ legislation with the reasoning that temporarily taking away a driver’s vehicle would alter their future behaviour.

We took a call at Cube in late March 2006 from Victoria Police requesting critical assistance setting up the structures to implement the legislation prior to it taking effect on 1st July. I joined a couple of colleagues in heading out to a warehouse near the airport that was going to hold the vehicles.

Over the following three months we provided Victoria Police with assistance across a broad range of areas including: process mapping, governance design, organisational structure options, contract tendering with towing firms, financial modelling, and communication material; including designing the standardised form police members would fill out at the side of the road when impounding a vehicle.

By the time the legislation took effect Victoria Police were in a strong position to start practically tackling the issue to make the roads safer for everybody. Eight years later, and with over 15,000 vehicles impounded, and even a few crushed in the most extreme recidivist cases, the program continues to be perceived as a success and carries the support of all sides of government.

Outcomes

The program has expanded over this time with vehicles now able to be impounded for thirty days or more for offences including unlicensed driving, repeat drink/drug driving and other forms of dangerous driving. The program soon outgrew its original home and the Vehicle Impoundment Support Unit (VISU) now operates across a series of warehouses.

Now, when I hear media reports of an impoundment, it reminds me of the small part that Cube has played in reducing road trauma and making our roads safer.

At Cube, we’ve been helping teams to implement priority policy changes for many years. Our team includes public policy specialists and practitioners who offer hands on experience, flexible support and responsiveness to help you hit that deadline. Because we know that legislative commencement dates don’t wait. We’d be happy to discuss your local challenges at any time.

Sometimes policy changes don’t come with the luxury of time

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