Assessment #3: Professional Task (Briefing Paper)

Assessment #3: Professional Task (Briefing Paper)



The introduction should include exactly which proposed change your paper will examine. You MUST provide a statement of the proposed change and whether you support or refute it (DO NOT PRESENT BOTH POSITIONS). Provide an overview of the main arguments you will employ in your briefing paper to support the stated position. The introduction should also explicitly state your recommendation. Do not elaborate here, you will do so in the recommendation section, instead; state what your briefing paper will propose, as the final, evidenced-based, course of action for government. Your recommendation should align with your position on the proposed change.



This section MUST provide the appropriate governance context that will guide your analysis of the proposal. In determining the governance rationalities that will allow you to cover the context you should consider factors such as historical, socio-cultural, socio-political, and economic that may have played a role in the government’s decision to consider the response to juvenile offending you have chosen to write about.


In this section, you must:

Identify the relevant rationality of youth governance (e.g., welfarism, justice, corporatism) and corresponding strategy (neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, responsibilisation, managerialism, restoration, risk, or remoralisation). Do NOT define all of these but instead define and outline only that which is MOST relevant to your chosen topic. Also, only incorporate aspects of the rationality/strategy that are relevant to the focus of the briefing paper. This will allow you to present an explicit and succinct connection between the proposed change and the youth governance approach that underpins it.



The learning materials from Modules 4 and 5 will be essential starting points to assist with this section.

Research and analysis

This is an important section as it presents the evidence to back your position. This section should contain the relevant research and analysis that informs your position on the proposed change. Here, you must consider the effects the proposed change will have on young people. Your analysis must consider the nature and extent of youth offending (Module 2) and the correlates of offending and victimisation (Module 3). Module two included engagement with readings and practitioner insights on the types of crime young people commit, and documented


the patterns of youth offending. Module three considered the victim/offender nexus and the correlates. So, does the research evidence and practitioner insights, validate, or invalidate the proposed change? This is the core focus of this section. References to Module one debates may also be useful.


Considering the following questions as you work your analysis. Do not write this section in a question-and-answer format, instead; use the questions as a guide to help you organise your work into conventional academic paragraphs.

  1. If you support the proposal, what evidence is there to show a positive effect of going ahead with the proposal? Similarly, if you reject the proposal, what evidence is there to show a negative impact?
  2. Discuss the possible impact on specific groups of young people. Groups may include those with a physical/cognitive disability, ethnic minority youth, Indigenous youth, migrant youth, those with a mental illness, low/socio economic groups, youth with a substance abuse disorder, gender-based impacts etc. Do not focus on all these groups but only those affected by the proposed change that is the focus of your briefing
  3. Discuss other national and international jurisdictions that have incorporated such a change into their What impact did the change have on young people? Were there any groups disproportionately affected. If so, how did the change affect them? Any youth groups that benefited? What were the effects? Look at recidivism rates (if relevant) or levels of ‘diversion’ (if relevant).
  4. The available research evidence must support claims you make; present specific data and cite all data sources appropriately.


Recommendation and conclusion

Your paper MUST make a recommendation for action. If you accept the proposal, your recommendation section will use available evidence to outline exactly how the amendment is to be effectively implemented. If you reject the proposed amendment, you must look at the best alternative that the research evidence suggests would be more effective in responding to youth offending. Therefore, if your argument is that spending millions of State funds on a new detention centre is not an appropriate initiative to address juvenile offending, then your recommendation must present something different for the government to consider. Your recommendation cannot simply be, ‘This briefing paper recommends that X should not be implemented.’ This is not an acceptable recommendation. You must provide a specific course of action to follow your position.


Useful Tips on how-to-write the Briefing Paper                  


Do Do Not
1.       Use the assessment template. The instructions in this guide are organised under the headings in the template (i.e., Introduction, background, research and analysis, recommendation, and conclusion).

2.       Read the marking criteria which aligns with the assessment instructions.

3.       Write short and concise sentences that get to the point. Remember, this is not an essay, but a Briefing Paper – so be precise in your expression. Writing more than one draft will help you to refine your written expression.

4.       Allocate time to researching appropriate sources and carefully extracting data from sources. Include figures and statistics to support your argument.

5.       Be selective with the information you use. Present information directly relevant to supporting your position.

6.       Present the strongest evidence available; ensure data sources are evaluated for usefulness and rigor prior to inclusion as evidence in the paper.

7.       Use bullet points, but these should not dominate the paper, and should be paired with conventional paragraphs that explain the value or meaning of the data presented in the bullet points.

8.       Use headings and subheadings to order your content.

9.       Make sure you use concepts that we have explored over the term. Review your notes and learning materials form ‘Module 4: Youth Governance’ to ensure you are clear on key concepts for the background section of your paper.

10.   Use the Harvard WesternSydU Referencing Style Guide for in-text citations and the reference list (iCite is a useful online tool to help you with this).

11.   Edit your work before submission. Look for typographical errors, grammatical issues and referencing issues (This task has a marking criterion associated with academic literacy).

1.       Do not try to present all sides of the issue. This briefing paper requires that you take a clear position from the start and retain that position through to the recommendation and conclusion.

2.       Do not cut-and-paste full sentences of data and description from sources. This is plagiarism. You need to reformat the data into a chart, graph, or table (Skills you learned as part of Module 3).

3.       Do not present lists of data without analysing the significance of the data. This means explain what the data means in connection to your argument.

4.       Do not present glossaries in your paper – when introducing a key concept, define it, and then explain the connection to the argument or claim you are making.

5.       Do not present individual opinions. This is a professional task; a clear position with supporting evidence is required.

6.       Do not rely too much on anecdotes; be sure to include key findings from the literature you have read on the topic as the dominant evidence base.

7.       Do not quote unnecessarily; instead, paraphrase content to demonstrate your understanding. Quotes may be useful when presenting data from a study where interviews were the method used, or if you are presenting a brief comment made by a practitioner that lends weight to your position, (e.g., the President of the Children’s Court of NSW argues, “X…”

8.       Do not use media or blogs as the key evidence to support a claim. Media articles may be used as an example but should not be the foundation of a position being presented.

9.       Do not only describe the content of sources, analyse the content for its significance.

10.   Do not limit yourself to subject content, use your research skills and critical understanding to identify the best possible evidence you can, to support your position.


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