Torture and trauma rehabilitation centres are under increasing pressure to demonstrate outcomes in order to secure public and private funding. In Australia, some sources of government funding had previously only required output level results. With limited time and resources for evaluation, embedding outcomes evaluation in internal practices ensures results are demonstrated and lessons learned. Taking a centre wide approach ensures consistency and demonstrates professionalism. At ASeTTS, programs had grown organically in response to clients’ needs and funding availability. As such program documentation and evaluation had varied. ASeTTS management and staff sought to tackle this problem as a whole centre.
ASeTTS staff drew on best practice program management techniques from the not for profit, public and private sectors. The ‘ASeTTS Program Management and Evaluation Toolkit’ was developed with templates for five key documents to be completed across the life cycle of a program. The documents include; a Concept Proposal (for programs at the idea stage), a Program Document (for the program design stage), an Evaluation Report and a Lesson Learned Document. The same templates were used across the centre, including different programmes and disciplines. Staff attended an introductory workshop on the toolkit. Individual drafting sessions were conducted with staff for each program, as a team, to develop the documents required with evaluation expertise support available.
ASeTTS staff completed Program Documents for 22 programs across the centre including all direct services and capacity building services. Additional documents in the Toolkit have been completed including concept proposals for new ideas, evaluation reports and lessons learned. As a result, corporate memory has been captured to improve staff induction and handover. Staff were up-skilled in project management and outcomes evaluation. Outcomes language has been embedded across the centre. Taking a centre wide approach has helped to build buy-in from staff as they can see they are not alone in learning something new and completing the documentation. Evaluation reports have been used to support funding applications and improve programs. As a result, ASeTTS is more competitive in seeking funding from public and private sources. Now outcomes evaluation is embedded at the program level, ASeTTS has been able to demonstrate agency level outcomes.
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
Staff who completed this work are funded through various sources of Australian government funding. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.