The Coalition Government will allocate $10 million a year over four years to strengthen the evaluation of Indigenous Affairs programmes.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the multi-year programme of evaluations would be underpinned by a formal Evidence and Evaluation Framework to strengthen reporting, monitoring and evaluation at a contract, programme and outcome level.
“The IAS has already greatly improved the transparency and accountability of Indigenous Affairs funding,” Minister Scullion said.
“As a result of the reforms the Coalition introduced through the IAS, we now know, for the first time, how much money is being spent across the Indigenous Affairs portfolio – and what outcomes we expect from the investment of taxpayers’ money.
“However, we need to continually build on this and further strengthen the evaluation of our investment to ensure that money allocated through the IAS is invested in ways that make the greatest difference for our First Australians.
“By establishing a multi-year funding allocation, we are ensuring there will be a long-term plan for evaluation and a formal strategy to monitor and review how individual contracts and programme streams are contributing to our efforts to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
“Evaluation at the contract, programme and outcome level will ensure we not only know where the money is being spent, but we will know what works and why. This is important for the Government and taxpayers, but more important for communities in whose name the money is spent.
“It will also mean we will be better able to assess where our investment needs to be focused in the future – and ensure the IAS continues to deliver outcomes for Indigenous communities.”
The Government’s IAS brought together 150 programmes and activities into five broad streams. It consolidated some 1800 staff from eight different departments and agencies into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and created a regional network which is now working in partnership with Indigenous communities across urban, regional and remote Australia.
These reforms have enabled a far more strategic and flexible approach to the Government’s investment in Indigenous Affairs to achieve better outcomes on the ground while relieving administrative burden and red tape for organisations servicing Indigenous communities.
The new approach to evaluation will strengthen contract management and scrutiny of service providers and provide a formal framework to evaluate the outcomes achieved by the IAS programme streams.
Under the new approach to evaluation, experts will be engaged to undertake robust, independent evaluation of IAS activities to assess their impact and whether any improvements should be made.
The roll out of the evaluation framework will be done in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the strategy will include a specific focus on developing a better base of evidence that is accessible and useful for specific communities.
“Under the IAS, First Australians are already involved in evaluation, including collecting data and undertaking surveys. Indigenous-run companies are currently delivering rigorous evaluation for the Government and this new framework will continue this partnership,” Minister Scullion said.
“This reflects the Coalition’s absolute commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve outcomes for our First Australians.”