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Learning from experience? Getting governments to listen to what evaluations are telling them 23 October 2012 Brian Gleeson, Coordinator General for Remote.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning from experience? Getting governments to listen to what evaluations are telling them 23 October 2012 Brian Gleeson, Coordinator General for Remote."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Learning from experience? Getting governments to listen to what evaluations are telling them 23 October 2012 Brian Gleeson, Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services Better Indigenous policies: the role of evaluation – Productivity Commission Roundtable Old Parliament House, Canberra

3 This is a strong document, it is our word. But now we think that no-one in the Education Department has read our reports because now you are paying people to come and ask us what we want again. Every year you ask us and every year we tell you but you don’t listen to what we say. Some community members say that you will keep asking until we tell you that we want to be Balanda, then you’ll stop asking. We are not Balanda, our skin will always be black. Submission to Collins Review of Indigenous education in the NT, 1999 Some things never change – or do they?

4 The road is long, with many a winding turn Precursors that influenced current Indigenous reform agenda including the development of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery:  – COAG trials  2002 – Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report commissioned to “help measure the impact of changes to policy settings and service delivery”  – Communities in Crisis policy  2004 – COAG agreement to new National Framework Principles for Government Service Delivery to Indigenous Australians  2004-now – Shared Responsibility Agreements  2004-now – Indigenous Coordination Centres  2006 – COAG commits to “long-term generational commitment” to overcome Indigenous disadvantage  2008 – Cape York Welfare Reform Trials  2008 – COAG announces the Closing the Gap targets, the National Indigenous Reform Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery

5 …that leads us to who knows where, who knows when By and large they all emphasised the importance of: Relationships – build effective, respectful relationships with communities and organisations and within governments Shared understandings – across and within governments and with communities – includes focus on long term and sustainable benefits, overarching plans with KPIs, coordination (whether central or localised) Enabling environment – including flexibility to reflect and respond to local priorities and subsidiarity Capacity building – of staff, communities and organisations and local leadership Understanding and learning from experience – sharing best practice, ongoing formative evaluation, better alignment between qualitative and quantitative evidence base

6 …but I’m strong, strong enough to carry it Some of the key elements that haven’t happen but should have if we’d listened properly: strengths based approach rather than singular focus on deficits; a whole of GOVERNMENTS approach at all levels; building the capacity of staff on the ground; flexible funding based on needs/outcomes rather than programs; better coordination of programs capable of delivering multiple policy objectives (eg infrastructure); delegation of decision making closer to the ground; incorporation of KPIs that inform implementation planning not just plans which are too often one off; understanding cultural maps to ensure right decision makers are at the community governance table; learning from experience – formative evaluation opportunities have been missed.

7 …while we're on the way to there - why not share? How to better learn from experience: ensure summative evaluations are early enough so that they can influence the next iteration of the policy and program frameworks; embed formative evaluations so that they can be responsive to the lessons being learnt – which would then prove to officers that it is worthwhile to change the way they work in response to circumstances; provide meaningful feedback on evaluation findings to Indigenous communities and other stakeholders; where appropriate respond directly and quickly to findings that suggest structural change to policy and/or institutional arrangements is needed; embed evaluation findings in policy frameworks and budget decision making; equip officers with the capability to implement the policy framework (including an enabling environment).

8 …we’ll get there … Wadeye is an example of governments listening to lessons learned  investment in developing legitimate local governance and so right decision makers at the table  patient work in developing capacity of leaders and local organisations leading to positive change including:  sustainable employment  enterprise development  harnessing youth leadership in AFL program An aside – the recent review of Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report has some very useful recommendations (greater focus on strengths, evidence based case studies, place based/tailored information, linkages between indicators, improved engagement with communities and policy makers)

9 It’s a long, long road, from which there is no return…


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