Disinvestment and Decommissioning of Public Services

Australia, like all developed economies, is debating the sustainability of its health care system, and whether significant changes to public services are needed to ensure quality and efficiency. With increasingly tight budgets the thorny issue of how to spend less on particular health care services or outmoded practices becomes crucial.

Health care organisations have long struggled with how to disinvest from treatments and interventions in an evidence based way; recently attention has turned to how we might decommission and/or change services. This workshop explored what the concepts of disinvestment and decommissioning mean and tools that support decision making in public services. It analysed national and international best practice in the area and used case studies and examples from practice to illustrate the issues.

Benefits to participants

  • Introduced to the concepts of disinvestment and decommissioning and provide an insight into tools that aid these processes
  • Gained insights into specific use of processes using case studies and examples from practice
  • Learnt from experts based at the Melbourne School of Government, and a leading international specialist in the field


This was an interactive, participatory workshop. Presenters actively engaged with participants' own experiences and questions to ensure the material was relevant and that they gained from the collective knowledge and experience of other attendees, leaving them armed with practical solutions as well as new ideas.


  • Chair: Assoc. Professor Helen Dickinson, Public Governance, Melbourne School of Government, The University of Melbourne
  • Assoc. Professor Suzanne Robinson, Director of the Health, Policy Management Group, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University
  • Assoc.Professor Adam Elshaug, Assoc. Professor of Health Care Policy, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney
  • Dr Lestyn Williams, Senior Lecturer in Health Policy and Management, University of Birmingham, England