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Wednesday, September 18 • 10:30am - 11:30am
Inside, outside, all around: Three perspectives on evaluation capacity building

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Stewart Muir (Australian Institute of Family Studies), Jessica Smart (Australian Institute of Family Studies), Emily Mellon (Outcomes Practice Evidence Network (OPEN)), Alisha Heidenreich (Relationships Australia South Australia)

Through evaluation capacity building we seek to grow and nurture the practice of evaluation and transform non-evaluators into evaluators. Understood broadly, evaluation capacity building consists of three components; capacity to "do" evaluation, capacity to "use" evaluation, and a culture that is supportive of evaluation (Stewart, 2014). The community services sector is experiencing a push towards evidence-based practice and outcomes measurement, yet despite increased investment, there are some common gaps in the sector's evaluation practice. This session explores different approaches to solving this problem through evaluation capacity building, drawing on the experiences of three panellists:

  • Stewart Muir, Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). The Families and Children Expert Panel Project operates nationally to build the capacity of service providers to use evidence in practice.
  • Alisha Heidenreich. Relationships Australia South Australia's evaluation team work alongside staff to build their capacity to discover the best - and what must be improved - in their services, programs and practices.
  • Mandy Charman. Outcomes Practice Evidence Network aims to strengthen the evidence base and improve outcomes for Victorian children.

The session will provide a very brief overview of each project and compare and contrast experiences to examine the role of evaluation capacity building in "unboxing" evaluation. Nerida Joss (AIFS) will moderate, posing questions and facilitating conversation, including taking questions from the audience. Discussion will be centred around questions such as:
  • How do we promote the use of evaluation?
  • What are the benefits of being positioned "outside" or "inside" an organisation?
  • How do we build an organisational culture that supports evaluation?
  • What are effective evaluation capacity building strategies?
  • How do you evaluate evaluation capacity building?

Attendees will leave this session having critically engaged with the key challenges and enablers of evaluation capacity building, and with practical examples of capacity building activities and how they work in different contexts.

avatar for Kerrie Ikin

Kerrie Ikin

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, UNE Business School, University of New England
Dr Kerrie Ikin FACEKerrie began her career as a teacher and executive member in government schools across New South Wales, Australia. For over 25 years she worked at the systems level of the education department as a director of schools, senior policy adviser, and senior administrator... Read More →


Stewart Muir

Executive Manager, Family Policy and Research, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Dr Stewart Muir is an anthropologist by training and the Executive Manager of the Family Policy and Research program at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Stewart has undertaken research and evaluation in Australia and the UK in and has particular interest in family and kinship... Read More →
avatar for Alisha Heidenreich

Alisha Heidenreich

Program Evaluation Officer, Relationships Australia South Australia
Alisha is the Program Evaluation Officer at Relationships Australia South Australia. She has significant experience coordinating and evaluating programs and projects in multiple sectors including, community services, international development, independent consultancy, and higher education... Read More →
avatar for Nerida Joss

Nerida Joss

Senior Manager, Knowledge Translation and Impact, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Mandy Charman

Project Manager, Outome Practice and Evidence Network, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family welfare
Dr Mandy Charman is the Project Manager for the Outcome, Performance and Evidence Network (OPEN) in the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. OPEN, which represents a sector–government–research collaboration, has been developed to strengthen the evidence base of the... Read More →

Wednesday September 18, 2019 10:30am - 11:30am AEST