This Policy Ideas briefing paper argues that a smooth transition is more than just a peaceful transfer of power. It is also about ensuring that the effective functioning of government does not become too disrupted during the transition period. It provides case studies on how transition was managed in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, and the strengths and weaknesses of the systems in these countries.
In the short term, IDEAS proposes that:
1. Civil service must conduct detailed scenario planning to explore the different possible election outcomes.
2. Senior civil servants at both state and federal levels must hold confidential meetings with opposition leaders to start building trust and identify priorities
3. The focus has to be at state level because it is likely that there will be changes at state level in the coming elections.
In the long term, IDEAS proposes that:
1. A transition guideline must be developed on a cross-party basis detailing the processes involved before and immediately after elections to ensure smooth changeover.
2. Politicians at both state and federal levels should be trained on the inner-workings of the civil service.