It is the process that stuffs it up

Evidence shows too many programs fail because they have neither been developed nor delivered the right way. We have put together some guidelines to what does and doesn’t work. These can be used by community members, advocates and those officially putting the programs together. This summary website is part of a wider project to explain what does work and to encourage people to stop making the same mistakes again and again.    

This website provides a brief introduction to the Commonwealth Government’s own experts' advice on what makes programs work effectively and stop what doesn't work. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is the group of experts that has identified and documented what processes have and have not been effective for designing and implementing programs that work for Indigenous peoples.

The expert's reports too often show how flaws in the planning and program delivery of services undermine their possible success.  In recent consultations communities are identifying the same types of errors. Sadly there is little evidence that the politicians and policy makers are either aware of all this evidence, or making any use of it.

We have listed the criteria under 'What Does Work' and 'What Doesn't Work' headings so people in the communities can use them to inform governments why they get things wrong. Quoting  them their own criteria should offer useful starting points for arguing for the necessary changes to the way that policies are planned and delivered.

The criteria cover the processes involved in making decisions, rather than policy content, and shows clearly how often it is the flawed planning and delivery that undermines the potential of the program's success.

We hope communities will be able to use these evidence-based criteria to convince politicians and funders to change their ways so that programs can become successful. We also hope that those in the public service and political systems will recognise the value of using their own  criteria to ensure that what they fund is effective, both in the short and long term.

The AIHW Clearinghouse (which may not survive current changes) has made an important contribution through the rigor and impartiality they have used to evaluate the data. The convergence between ‘real world experience’ and the Clearinghouse’s technical assessment builds confidence that the ideas below provide a solid basis for programs that create equity.

Eva Cox AO Professorial Fellow Jumbunna IHL 

Further data and the sources of these comments are available in the issue of the Journal of Indigenous Policy on the Jumbunna websiteAlso see the Tackling Violence Evaluation Report prepared by Jumbunna which describes a project that was evaluated and is working.