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Wednesday, September 18 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Increasing policy impact of disability inclusive evaluation by using an inclusive citizenship lens

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Karen Fisher (UNSW Sydney), Prof Sally Robinson (Disability and Community Inclusion, Flinders University)

In this paper we examine whether disability inclusive evaluation can demonstrate the values of inclusive citizenship to influence policy change. The purpose is to observe how inclusive evaluation enables a voice in policy to improve the impact of evaluation.

The values of inclusive citizenship are justice, recognition, self-determination, and solidarity (Lister 2007). We apply these values to policy evaluation that uses methods inclusive of people with disability to enact diversity within evaluation.

We apply the question to a controversial evaluation about closing disability institutions in Australia. The evaluation team included people with and without disabilities - academics, a researcher who had lived in an institution and field researchers who had worked with people with complex communication needs - in partnership with a Disabled Persons Organisation and government. It used a human rights framework to analyse data from policy documents, site observations, interviews, secondary data and quality of life measures.

The evaluation team used various participatory strategies to ensure inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities to organise and conduct the evaluation and to apply the results. It had high policy impact by engaging the government in the evaluation process and applying the inclusive methods. Evaluation practice included reflective conversations in the team about benefits and challenges of the participatory methods.

It found that the inclusive citizenship framework enabled the team to complement the strengths of the various team members. The range of inclusive methods was necessary to ensure that people's expertise was appropriately engaged.

Evaluators aiming to achieve impact to improve the lives of people affected by the policy must consider and invest in inclusive methods for evaluation utility during the design, conduct and delivery of evaluation, even technical evaluations such as this case study. The underlying values of inclusive citizenship can inform inclusive evaluation in all aspects of the evaluation process.


Anthea Rutter

Research Fellow, Centre for Program Evaluation. The University of Melbourne

avatar for Karen Fisher

Karen Fisher

Professor, Social Policy Research Centre UNSW
I conduct research and evaluation about disability and mental health policy in Australia and China. I use inclusive methods with people with disability, families and other stakeholders. I am enjoying extending that to film, photos and other accessible methods to ensure the evaluations... Read More →
avatar for Sally Robinson

Sally Robinson

Professor, Disability and Community Inclusion, Flinders University
I’ve worked alongside people with disability my whole working life. In that time, I’ve been lucky enough to have colleagues with intellectual disability who gave me really important direction. Without their guidance, I wouldn’t have taken on my PhD research, which was about... Read More →

Wednesday September 18, 2019 11:30am - 12:00pm AEST