Policy Development Workshops

The Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy's Policy Development Workshops offer unique networking and personal career development opportunities for mid-level to senior executive public servants. Our workshops and comprehensive training programs develop practical skills in leadership, communication, financial management, policy development and board of director’s governance.  Programs are tailored for the public sector and have a blended pedagogical approach of case studies, group discussion, lectures and one-on-one assessments. 

Past clients include five Government of Saskatchewan ministries, three crown corporations, two non-profits organizations and a provincial agency. One of the most valuable aspects of our training programs, as indicated from past registrants, is the pairing of academic facilitators with former and current public servants.

The school currently offers two types of custom and public workshops. 

Custom Workshops

Custom workshops are ideal for public sector organizations who wish to seek short-term or long-term training opportunities for their employees. Organizations may choose from a variety of topics that have already been developed, or the school can work directly with organizations to customize topics that suit their needs. Because of the unique nature of many public sector organizations, facilitators will tailor the workshop content to provide real-life case studies and examples that are relevant to the participants' daily work. To allow for more interactive discussions, custom workshops are limited to 25 participants.

Public Workshops

Public workshops are routinely offered by the school and assist participants in developing practical skills in leadership, communication, financial management, and policy development and provide unique networking opportunities. Attendees of public workshops are charged on a per-person basis, and to allow for more interactive discussions, public workshops are limited to 25 participants. Online registrations are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and due to popularity, workshops typically fill up very quickly. Audiences include individuals employed in the provincial, federal, and municipal government, as well as in the non-profit and private sectors.

Popular Workshop Topics
Preparing Briefing Notes

Preparing Briefing Notes provides Saskatchewan public servants with an introduction to writing government briefing notes. The one-day workshop familiarizes participants with different types of briefing notes, key components, structure, and writing and communication styles. Public servants will learn to target the information according to the intended audience. The workshop also provides a basic template to be followed when preparing briefing notes and reviews appropriate writing styles. The day will consist of lectures given by the facilitators and practical exercises. Participants will learn how to structure and write an informational briefing note, and communicate effectively in providing advice.

The four key goals of this workshop are: 

  1. To familiarize public servants with the types of briefing notes;
  2. To review the purposes and functions of briefing notes;
  3. To provide participants with a style guide for writing briefing notes; and,
  4. To learn how to effectively communicate information.

Additional service:

  • Briefing note assessments - Following the Preparing Briefing Notes workshop, attendees can request to have their written briefing notes assessed by the facilitators (with written feedback).


  • “It was very useful, can’t wait to write more briefing notes.”
  • “I found it extremely helpful that the facilitators presented the material on a level that was easily understood.  The presentations were supplemented with a true work-shop component that encouraged independent critical thinking as well as team work.”
  • “The workshop was great; both for those people who are new to writing briefing notes an those who have been writing them for years.”
Conducting Technical Briefings

This one-day workshop will provide a practical guide to conducting technical briefings for senior officials.  Public servants are often called upon to provide information based on their professional competencies in technical areas to senior and elected officials who have limited background in these areas.   Following this workshop, participants will know how to relay complex or highly technical information to non-technical audiences; understand why your audience matters and ensure that your audience understands you; and how to relay complex information in user-friendly ways.

The four key goals of this workshop are: 

  1. to familiarize participants with the roles of senior officials and politicians;         
  2. to understand how technical information assists management and decision-making;
  3. to learn the roles of technical advisors in these processes; and,
  4. to provide participants with communication tools to reach a variety of audiences.


  • "The best seminar that I have attended... this one needs to be attended by all analysts.”
  • “The presenters provided an excellent personal experience which put the discussion topics into real world settings.”
  • “Always enjoy your sessions, good atmosphere, professional approach and the use of real life career experience is invaluable.”
Conducting Verbal Briefings  

This half-day workshop will provide a practical guide to conducting verbal briefings for senior officials. Topics will focus understanding the importance of verbal briefings, presenting written material, conducting briefings with several presenters, tips for communicating in briefings and case study exercise on conducting briefings with feedback from the instructors.  Participants will learn their role and the roles of senior officials; the basic principles in giving verbal presentations and how to ensure they are giving effective briefings.

The four key goals of the workshop are: 

  1. to familiarize participants with the different roles within a Ministry;
  2. to review the basic principles and steps in verbal briefings;
  3. to learn how to give effective verbal briefings; and,
  4. to understand the methods available for presenting technical information.


  • “Enjoyed the opportunity to learn from two highly regarded and experienced public servants.”
  • “I feel much more confident and better prepared to conduct a (verbal) briefing.”
  • “The facilitators created a very comfortable, non-threatening environment.  Would highly recommend the session.”
Budgeting and Financial Management

This one-day workshop provides participants with an understanding of different types of budgeting systems which public organizations use and the roles of different decision-making bodies in setting budgets. Topics will focus on important budgeting principles and the stages common in budget development processes from the initial establishment of broad priorities, through the budget review process, budget implementation and management to the final stages of results reporting. The workshop will also discuss the role of program managers in managing resources throughout the budget year and the processes in place to ensure budget decisions are met and that financial plans are responsive to rapidly changing program demands. Participants will learn the process for inputs into budget decisions, how to interpret budget decisions and their role in monitoring budgetary outcomes.

The four key goals of the workshop are: 

  1. to familiarize participants with different budgeting systems and their strengths and weaknesses;
  2. to learn the basic principles and steps in the budget decision-making process;
  3. to learn how to have effective input into budget decisions; and,
  4. to understand the methods available for monitoring and reporting during the course of a fiscal year.


  • “Any institution or group that is dependent on or looking for government funding would find this seminar very beneficial.”
  • “I enjoyed both facilitators and felt that they had an excellent grasp of the topic and were able to convey it in an understandable way.”
  • “I really appreciated the practicality of the budget information and using Saskatchewan examples, it is useful in any position you may hold.”
Strategic and Operational Planning

This one-day workshop examines how the complexity of policy goals and objectives in public institutions requires a complex, but, nevertheless, systematic approach to planning in management. The workshop discusses the need for planning and examines the essential considerations in strategic planning for managers.

The four key goals of this workshop are:

  1. to examine the fundamental elements of strategic planning and operational planning;
  2. to discuss some different models of planning and how they are used for different purposes;
  3. to discuss how different types of plans co-exist within an organization; and,
  4. to examine how and why one constructs a plan.


  • "This was a beneficial event, in large part due to excellent facilitation. I appreciate the opportunity to attend."
  • "It made me get out of my "bubble" and look at the value in planning and how it can help our section with the work that we do."
  • "I want to personally thank the facilitators for a most open, candid professional job of presenting the material with "real life" examples."

Click here for a comprehensive list of workshops.

More Information

For more information on Custom or Public Workshops, please contact:

Andrea Geisbauer, Manager, Outreach & Training
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Telephone: (306) 585-4923
Email: andrea.geisbauer@uregina.ca

For more information on our Executive Education Programs, please view our fact sheet.