The project aims to develop a framework for the evaluation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policies, programs and services that is oriented towards health equity, engagement of local stakeholders, increasing community benefit, capacity-building and research partnerships.
This project is designed to involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in leading the research from the outset and at every stage through the research team and local governance and consultation structures, including the project reference group (PRG). The research team includes eminent Aboriginal researchers Yin Paradies, Shaun Ewen and Joanne Luke who will be involved in all stages of the design and implementation of the research. The PRG will include all members of the research team and key stakeholder groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and policy-makers. Representatives from the Aboriginal community controlled health sector will be included on the PRG in recognition of the important role of the sector in the development of an evaluation framework to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
Effective evaluation practices are essential to ensuring that the policies and programs delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reflect best practice. Evaluations should provide a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and should also be a tool to promote equity. This project will develop coherent principle based framework that will encompass both ‘what’ evaluations of programs addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing should include and ‘how’ these evaluations should be conducted. This will provide a resource to government, program implementers, evaluators and community to improve evaluation practice and re-orient evaluation to improving equity in health and well being.
The research will have five stages:
- Convene the project reference group, which will include experts and representatives from agencies most likely to adopt findings
- consultations to identify current practice, best practice principles and barriers and facilitators to implementing the evaluation framework
- literature review to identify relevant existing frameworks and best practice in evaluating benefits provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by health policies and programs, including a review of publicly advertised tenders
- interactive workshops to revise and inform the evaluation framework, and
- case studies exemplifying best practice.
The project will contribute to the development of research capacity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in at least four ways. It will:
- Directly engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, organisations, service providers and community in the development, design and implementation of the project through consultation and governance structures
- incorporate the viewpoints of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wherever possible. This will include, for example, training Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to develop case study materials to present their perspectives around best practice evaluation
- foster stronger relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations and those who fund, design and implement programs and policies that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to enable ongoing dialogue around quality improvement, and
- pioneer the development of methodological approaches for understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on evaluation
The development of a coherent framework to inform the content and conduct of evaluations of programs to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing. The development of resources to support its implementation.