An Evaluation Framework to Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (Lowitja Institute)
On May 21st the Lowitja Institute held a forum entitled “Community Priorities into Policy“ for policy makers in Canberra. Professor Margaret Kelaher and Ms Francine Eades presented the report An Evaluation Framework to Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. The report found that although the evaluation of programs to improve the health and wellbeing has the potential to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These benefits were not being fully realised due to limitations in how evaluations are being conducted, what is being evaluated and how the evidence generated is being translated into action. Frameworks were developed to improve the benefits of evaluation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Key findings from the report were:
- All Australian governments have principles for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that should be integrated in all programs. These principles are not consistently reflected in tender documents (2-14%), evaluation reports (7-39%) and peer reviewed literature (21-73%). This is particularly true principles of cultural importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- The “what to evaluate” framework provides guidance about how to evaluate how these principles are implemented.
- A review of publicly advertised evaluation tenders over the past ten years found that only 5% of tender documents and 33% of evaluation reports were publicly available. Ethical approval was only mentioned in 28% of tender documents, 21% of evaluation reports and 52% peer reviewed literature.
- The “how to evaluate” framework outlines the ethical responsibilities of all parties in evaluation, including government and other commissioners, to ensure that evaluations benefit the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by translating the evidence generated into action.