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Australian Evaluation Society Inc. Leading Evaluation in Australia

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The AES Awards for Excellence in Evaluation recognise exemplary evaluation practice, evaluation systems or evaluation capacity building in Australasia. The annual awards provide significant peer recognition for leading evaluators, leading evaluations, evaluation best practice and emerging evaluators.

The AES views evaluations as a partnership between the commissioner, the evaluator and the participants of the project. For evaluative projects, the awards recognise the role of all the partners, not just the evaluators.

The AES encourages all Award recipients to play an active role in promoting excellence in evaluation. Award recipients will be asked to consider ways in which their knowledge and experience may be shared with others..

The Awards are announced and presented at the AES International Conference Awards Dinner each year. All nominees are invited to attend the conference or nominate someone to attend on their behalf. Recipients are published on the AES website (click here for previous recipients).

2017 Awards Recipients

The 2017 Awards were announced and celebrated on the evening of 5 September 2017 at the Awards Gala Dinner, held in conjunction with aes17 International Evaluation Conference in Canberra, Australia.

Presentation of recipients

Emerging New Talent Award Alexandra Ellinson
Evaluation Study or Project Award Alison Wallace, Dr Linda Kurti, Nicki Hutley, Dr Caroline Tomiczek, Alex Batchen (Urbis) and NSW Treasury,
for the Evaluation of the Newpin SBB Program
Indigenous Evaluation Award Hokianga Hapū Community Water Supplies;
Marara Rogers-Koroheke & Hone Taimona (Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust), Andrea Clark (Social Foci Limited), Jeff Foote & Maria Hepi (Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited); John Wigglesworth (Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust)
for Tukua te Wai Kia Rere: Evaluation of the Hokianga Drinking Water Programme

Emerging New Talent Award

Alexandra (Lex) Ellinson

The judges were impressed by the high level of professional competence achieved by Lex, which has been developed within four years of evaluation experience. She holds a Senior Consultant role in ARTD and is an active contributor to the AES as a member and secretary of the Advocacy and Alliances Committee, as well as a member of the Realist SIG.

In the projects Lex has worked on or led, she has demonstrated a breadth of knowledge and skill essential for a high quality evaluator. Her evaluation reports demonstrate ability to engage with different methodologies including quasi-experimental designs, cost analysis, qualitative methods and monitoring methodologies.

Lex has colleagues who seek her out for discussions about ethics, particularly in the areas of cultural sensitivity and people experiencing trauma. The nomination provides evidence of exemplary stakeholder engagement, particularly in areas involving youth and very positive working relationships with Aboriginal community elders.

Evaluation Study or Project Award

Alison Wallace, Dr Linda Kurti, Nicki Hutley, Dr Caroline Tomiczek, Alex Batchen (Urbis) and NSW Treasury,
for the Evaluation of the Newpin SBB Program

The judges noted that the Evaluation of the Newpin Social Benefit Bond addresses the complex needs of a growing number of children placed in out-of-home care. The evaluation was commissioned by NSW Treasury and conducted by Urbis.

The Evaluation of the Newpin Social Benefit Bond covered the process, outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of the service. It used a mixed methods design and incorporated extensive consultation with parents, the service provider, staff and program administrators. Outcomes were assessed through analysis of child protection data for the intervention and a control group.

The Evaluation of the Newpin Social Benefit Bond products are excellent and would constitute useful learning tools for evaluation students and practitioners. These are published online by the NSW Office of Social Impact Investment. The project has demonstrated the usefulness of high quality evaluation for improving social policy and delivering good outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.

Indigenous Evaluation Award

Hokianga Hapū Community Water Supplies;
Marara Rogers-Koroheke & Hone Taimona (Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust), Andrea Clark (Social Foci Limited), Jeff Foote & Maria Hepi (Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited); John Wigglesworth (Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust)
for Tukua te Wai Kia Rere: Evaluation of the Hokianga Drinking Water Programme

Nau mai e te wai whakaora i te punawai Ariki
Matapuna mai i konā i te pupuke i te kukune Pīataata mai i konā i te tapu ahu mai i te rangi Hirere mai i konā i te mana ahu mai i te whenua Wai tapu nō ngā tūpuna, wai whakaora nō ngā matua Ka puta i te whei ao, ka puta ki te ao mārama

The judges found Tukua te Wai Ki Rere to be outstanding in a number of respects, representing all that we, as Indigenous people, value highly in terms of evaluation practice. As was noted by one member of the assessing committee, “the level of community participation involved in this project and evaluation was significant and the accountability and ownership back to the community was high”.

We commend the Tukua te Wai Ki Rere evaluators for their partnership with local hapū members, as this partnership approach appeared to demonstrate real benefits, both for the community-based evaluators and for the community more widely. There was significant involvement of Indigenous people in the evaluation process and capacity building was evident. The process used was open and transparent, and gave ownership back to these communities. One of our assessors noted that “there was clear evidence throughout that Indigenous people were leading the process, working in partnership [with the evaluators] to find solutions for better outcomes”.

This evaluation and the process described in the Tukua te Wai Ki Rere report will contribute to Indigenous evaluation knowledge to what is best practice in community development to how to involve and engage with Indigenous people using cultural structures that already exist in communities to deliver benefits.

By using this approach and existing culturally appropriate structures other community development initiatives can be implemented to deliver broader benefits back to these communities. The level of capacity building in evaluation was high and the process transparent to all stakeholders including the communities involved. The evaluation and process described would be a good case study from which to learn about what is a culturally safe evaluation.

Previous awards recipients

Pathways cover 190