HoD Profile: Dr Elli McGavin

Meet Dr Elli McGavin, Head of Policy, Research and Social Justice at The Salvation Army

What does your role as Head of Policy, Research and Social Justice involve?


My role as head of the department is to develop the strategic direction for policy and research nationally for The Salvation Army, and promote social justice in Australia. Policy, Research and Social Justice (PRSJ) is essentially a service department and our role is to provide expertise, project support and resources – as well as promote excellence — in policy, research and social justice for The Salvation Army.

I lead a team of exceptional and dedicated people in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Our Policy and Advocacy team is responsible for The Salvation Army’s united voice in key issues that affect those who use our services and matters of social justice. Our Research team works to understand the efficacy of our service delivery and support other areas of our mission portfolio. Finally, our Contract Services and Client Information team manage the contract lifecycle, providing support and review of contract and tender processes and our client data system.

What are you focusing on at the moment?

The PRSJ department officially started on 3 December, however, we are still recruiting for a number of roles. At the moment we are recruiting a General Manager, Policy and Advocacy and hoping to appoint someone shortly. We will also recruit a number of Policy and Advocacy Advisers early in the new year.

What are your priorities for the first quarter of 2019?

We’ll have a strong focus on homelessness and Newstart campaigns from an advocacy perspective, as well as provide support to our major social mission services. We will also be commencing a project to bring our SAMIS data collections together, which is a significant project.

What were you doing before you took on this role?

I was the Policy and Program Development Manager for the former AUS territory. Prior to this, I was a senior educator, project manager and lecturer at Swinburne University. Before Swinburne, I worked across a range of TSA programs and corps appointments.

What do you like about working for The Salvation Army?

The work we do at The Salvation Army is incredibly meaningful. I am grateful to have this opportunity to help to create change in society and be a part of transforming peoples’ lives.

What do you do enjoy doing in your spare time?

When not working, I like to be in my garden or spending time with friends and family.

Is there anything that you would like to say to Salvos around the country at this time?

The team and I are looking forward to working with you to find ways to promote our advocacy campaigns across the organisation. In the new year, we want to involve everyone, from support staff to the Corps, Area Officers and the frontline in the work we do, for example, homelessness advocacy campaigns.

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