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Tuesday, September 5 • 15:00 - 15:30
Evaluation: What's the use?

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Jade Maloney (ARTD)

Evaluation emerged as a professional discipline to guide government decision-making about social policies and programs. The significant amount of government expenditure on evaluations has been justified by the potential of evaluations to improve client outcomes and ensure effective targeting of resources (Patton, 2008, p.xvii). However, consistent with the concerns about the limited of use of research to inform government decision-making (Head, 2006), concerns about non-use of evaluations have plagued the profession since it emerged (Patton, 2008; Brandon & Singh, 2009). So what can we Australasian evaluators do in our practice to set our work up for use? And what should we do when we hit barriers to use, like 'small p' and 'big P' politics? The findings of a recent survey of AES members and in-depth follow-up interviews with internal and external evaluators around Australia (completed between November 2016 and February 2017) suggest we need to focus on both the supply and demand side factors for evaluation. On the supply side, evaluators need the interpersonal and communications skills to develop effective relationships and bring stakeholders together to agree on the purpose of the evaluation. On the demand side, agency leadership needs to support and set the context for evaluation use, while individual staff need to be receptive to learning from evaluation. When the context is less conducive to evaluation use, there are practical steps evaluators can take to shift it. Learning from our collective experience will help ensure evaluation reports don't sit on shelves gathering dust because use of evaluation will be embedded within governance systems.

avatar for Kathryn Dinh

Kathryn Dinh

Principal Consultant / PhD Candidate (advocacy evaluation), Zest Health Strategies / UNSW
Hi I work for Zest Health Strategies - a health consultancy company specialising in evaluation, research, strategic planning, service development, health communications and health promotion and digital design. We have extensive experience of the Australian health sector as well as... Read More →

avatar for Jade Maloney

Jade Maloney

Partner & Managing Director, ARTD Consultants
I work with government agencies, not-for-profits and citizens to co-design, refine, communicate and evaluate social policies, regulatory systems and programs. I am passionate about ensuring citizens have a voice in shaping the policies that affect their lives, translating research... Read More →

Tuesday September 5, 2017 15:00 - 15:30 AEST
Torrens Room – first floor