Professor Leigh Gassner was Assistant Commissioner (Education) for Victoria Police. Leigh is also a director of Reos Partners an international organisation dedicated to supporting and building capacity for innovative collective action in complex social systems. Leigh’s recent work with Reos includes designing a national scenario dialogue for Indigenous Australians, and working to surface innovative solutions to environmental and social sustainability practices within the construction industry. He has also worked on Aboriginal health system reform in New South Wales; youth in the criminal justice system and recently conducted a national consultation, including with Indigenous communities, on perpetrator intervention, part of the Commonwealth Governments National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. This work in particular involves multi-stakeholder dialogue in complex and “stuck” social systems.
He also serves as Deputy President, Police Registration and Services Board in Victoria. In 2014 he was asked by the State Government to set up the registration and professionalization framework for policing in Victoria. As result he is now Deputy President of both the Registration Division and Professional Standards Division.
In the public sector he has advised on organisational performance and cultural change, strategy development and organisational re-positioning, and providing executive coaching and development programs in the finance, manufacturing and retail sectors. Leigh’s experience has also included bringing together multiple and diverse stakeholders to achieve common outcomes, through meaningful dialogue and problem solving, including across organisations and sectors and even in complex social and community systems. This work builds on Leigh’s knowledge and practice around quality and systems thinking, on which he lectures at post-graduate level. Because of his experience and study Leigh brings both a practical and theoretical mix to his work.
Leigh has managed significant cultural and organisational change processes in Victoria Police. Leigh’s senior executive experience has included leading and managing two of the largest police regions (each of approximately 2000 personnel) in Victoria and being responsible for the wide range of services to the community that each region delivered. Leigh has also led the delivery of education and development programs to the organisation.
In August 2001, in undertaking a review of policing response to violence against women he recognised the need for a larger systemic response from government and community to this important social issue. He subsequently, chaired the State-wide Steering Committee to Reduce Family Violence and the State-wide Steering Committee to Reduce Sexual Assault. Both of these initiatives involved the community and government sectors and were endorsed by State Cabinet. This work achieved positive and significant State budgetary outcomes in both the public and community sectors. In 2009, Leigh was appointed to the Australian Federal Government's Violence against Women Advisory Group and later to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mental Health Reform.
Leigh has worked in China with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Peoples Court of China on family violence legislative and system reform and is presently working in South Africa on system reform to violence against women. He has also developed for the Australian and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), deep dive case studies on social policy reform in their “Towards Strategic Leadership” program; He is presently Chair of the Coroners Family Violence Death Review Panels.
Leigh is a Member of a Council member of the Australian Community Support Organisation and a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration of Australia (Victoria). Leigh holds a Doctorate in Business Administration and a Master of Public Policy and Administration and has had a long term association with AGSL initially many years ago he was identified by a selection committee as an individual with outstanding potential meriting the award of a scholarship to cover his doctoral course enrolment fees.