Stephen has been director of the Allen Consulting Group since 2007 from the post of Professor of Governance and Director, National Institute for Governance. Under his leadership NIG established itself as Australia’s pre-eminent governance research body with a focus on linkages between private, public and non-profit sectors.
He is the author of two acclaimed books: Against the Grain – The AWB Scandal and Why it Happened (UNSW Press, 2006) and Public Sector Governance – Australia (CCH, 2004) together with numerous articles and opinion pieces.
He also engaged in consulting work while at NIG, primarily in governance and public sector management. His projects included: a major review for the then Transport Minister of the operations, performance and governance of Airservices Australia; a board review of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; reform of the Australian College of Theology; training for new governance for the National Health and Medical Research Council; and governance reviews of Swinburne and Canberra Universities.
He has conducted executive training for Solomon Islands and PNG senior public servants, the New Zealand Crown Corporations Monitoring Unit, NSW RTA, and the Australian Command and Staff College. He was keynote presenter at the APEC international seminar on governance for the 2006 APEC Senior Officials Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Previously, as Visiting Fellow, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, ANU, Stephen convened two postgraduate courses: ‘Corporatisation and Privatisation’ and ‘Managing Government Finances’ and conducted research in tax expenditures, public sector finances and governance.
Stephen is a former Deputy Secretary, Australian Department of Finance and Administration. As head of Budget Group for five years he was responsible for budget policy and documentation, fiscal and economic advice to Ministers, program evaluations and reviews, financial reporting and associated functions such as costing of election policies.
Previously as Deputy Secretary responsible for Resource Management Framework, Stephen guided numerous functions: government information, procurement, Commonwealth superannuation, accounting policies, shareholder advice on Government Business Enterprises, and natural disaster relief.
Over a 25 year career in the Australian Public Service, Stephen held senior positions in the departments of Finance, Transport and Communications, Housing and Construction and the Public Service Board. When convener of the Commonwealth’s Management Improvement Advisory Committee, Stephen developed guidance on performance management, evaluation, competitive tendering and public-private partnerships; and helped write the landmark report Building a Better Public Service.
Among other achievements he: advised government on corporatisation of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority; reformed the wool floor price scheme after alerting the government to its imminent collapse; managed Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements during Australia’s worst ever two years of disasters; evaluated the Sponsored Overseas Students’ Program; and developed the analytical tools to measure housing need in Australia used for the 1984 Commonwealth/State housing agreement and subsequently.
Stephen is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of the ACT Council of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. He has been a company director of the Telstra Instalment Receipt Trust Company and of Isonet Ltd. He is currently a director pro bono of Kidsafe Australia.
Stephen leads the government practice of the Allen Consulting Group. His recent projects include:
Evaluation of the COAG initiatives for full and effective mutual recognition of occupational licences for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) mutual recognition steering committee, coordinated through the taskforce located in DEEWR;Reports on Competition in the Export Grains Supply chain and Industry Good Services for AWB Limited, the recommendations of which were incorporated in legislation passed by the Australian Parliament in June;A comprehensive survey of stakeholder views of markets and market regulation for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC); A review of governance arrangements of Industry Skills Councils for DEEWR;An evaluation for the Bureau of Rural Science of the Australian Centre for Excellence in Risk Management (located at Melbourne University, ACERA receives a significant proportion of its funding from BRS);An evaluation for DFaHCSIA of training for indigenous organisations under the “project Aurora” program.