PHE5STL: Systems Thinking and Leadership

Systems Thinking and Leadership

Assessment 2: Complex problem briefing paper instructions and submission link

PHE5STL: Systems Thinking and Leadership

Assessment 2: Complex, or messy, problem briefing paper
Assignment typeBriefing paper/policy advising paper
Weighting20%
Word count / length1,500 words Note: The word count does not included references however does include in-text citations
SILOs1, 2, 3, 4
 Due dateSunday of Week 3, 23.59 (Melbourne time*) *For current Melbourne time, please check information under the Assessment tile in the LMS of this subject.

Topic overview

This assessment requires you to write a briefing paper on why an issue of your choice does, or does not, fit the criteria for being classed as a complex problem. A brief is the preparation of advice for decision by at least the next level up in the department.

Assessment criteria

This assessment will measure your ability to:

  • Describe the characteristics of a problem and rate these characteristics against the criteria for complex problems (50%)
  • Explain the implications of the problem you raised being regarded as a complex problem (30%)
  • Make use of the research literature (20%)

Guidelines

Identify a health systems or public health issue that is of interest to you to research and write the paper about. It can relate to another of the social determinants of health – e.g., housing, education, income, employment, climate, air quality, development and overseas aid, the scope is as broad as your interest. The problem does not have to be an Australian one, it can relate to any place with which you have a connection. 

Assume that you have a friend who works in the public service, in the department responsible for the issue that you have selected. They are interested to hear that in your systems thinking subject you have been discussing complex problems. They tell you they have been asked to help prepare a briefing paper on policy options to deal with the issue that you have chosen. This will be delivered by their supervisor to the Deputy Secretary, who is responsible for advising the relevant Minister. They ask if you can talk to them and their supervisor and advise them whether you think the issue constitutes a complex problem. Keen to support your friend you do your homework before you speak with them, researching the issue and reflecting on the question of whether the issue really is a complex one.

For your assignment, draft a short report that your friend might be able draw on outlining whether you think the problem is a complex one. Describe some of the characteristics of the problem and how well they fit with definitions of complex problems. Explore both the case for treating the issue as complex and the case against so that your friend has options to work on. Explain to her some of the implications that follow if the problem were to be regarded as complex. Refer to the research literature where relevant to support your arguments.

Submission format

While a report format has been recommended (see the recommendation below and the Assessment Task 2 advice video), you are not obliged to follow that format. You can select a format that you think is best (as long as you address the rubric requirements, you will do well).

  • Header: Capture brief subject in one short line of text.
  • Core message: Provide a high-level summary of key information that supports the recommendation/s.
  • Recommendations.
  • Key reasons: Detail key reasons to help the decision maker.
  • Further reasons (optional): Reasons not covered in Key reasons section and could include subsections on financial implications, risk analysis, consultations carried out, next steps etc…
  • Context (optional): Background information or vital contextual detail.
  • References.

When submitting the report please include a cover page with your submission which includes the following information:
Student ID
Name
Assessment number
Word count (excluding cover page and references)

RUBRIC

CRITERIAA: Excellent (>80%)B: Very good (70–79%)C: Good (60–69%)D: Acceptable (50–59%)N: Unacceptable (<50%)
Describes the characteristics of the problem and rates them against the criteria for defining complex problems (50 marks)Includes a comprehensive and insightful description of the problem and how well it fits the criteria for being described as complex. (40–50 marks)Includes a very good description of the problem and how well it fits the criteria for being described as complex. (35–39 marks)Includes a good description of the of the problem and how well it fits the criteria for being described as complex. (30–34 marks)Includes an adequate description of the problem and how well it fits the criteria for being described as complex but may have missed some key aspects. (25–29 marks)Poor or missing description of the problem and how well it fits the criteria for being described as complex. (<25 marks)
Explanation of the implications of being regarded as a complex. (30 marks)Includes a comprehensive and insightful explanation of the implications of regarding the problem as a complex problem or as a difficulty.  (24–30 marks)Includes a very good description of the implications of regarding the problem as a complex problem or as a difficulty.  (21–30 marks)Includes a good description of the implications of regarding the problem as a complex problem or as a difficulty.  (18–20 marks)Includes an adequate description of the implications but may have missed some key aspects.  (15–17 marks)Poor or missing description of the implications. (<15 marks)
Makes use of the research literature (20 marks)Excellent use of the research literature and associated referencing. (16–20 marks)Very good use of the research literature and associated referencing. (14–15 marks)Good use of the research literature and associated referencing. (12–13 marks)Acceptable use of the research literature and associated referencing. (10–11 marks)Poor or missing discussion of the literature and associated referencing. (<10 marks)
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