As with the previous Agreements, Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja will be monitored and evaluated to ensure transparency, accountability and continuous improvement.
A monitoring and evaluation strategy will be developed that aligns with the outcomes framework, and will focus on:
- monitoring and measuring outcomes that reflect Aboriginal values and measures of success
- improving Aboriginal justice data collection, which is essential for establishing an evidence-base and securing funding for AJA initiatives
- producing useful findings to inform future program design and policy.
The monitoring and evaluation strategy will support the ongoing implementation of initiatives and programs, inform future investments in justice responses, and enable better outcomes and decisions based on a strong evidence base.
Monitoring and reporting under Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja will be outcomes focussed, and primarily concerned with reporting the impact of AJA activities on key priority outcomes and related indicators.
New indicators, particularly those relating to self-determination will need to be developed as this Agreement is implemented. Monitoring and reporting will also track program development and implementation to ensure that initiatives are on track.
Monitoring activities will include:
- a data improvement plan to improve the quality of Aboriginal justice data sets and improve the utilisation of data and existing evidence
- establishing a minimum program data set for all AJA programs and services
- developing surveys and/or other tools to monitor the ‘health’ of the AJA partnership and the degree to which self-determination has been enabled over time.
A critical role for evaluation under this Agreement will be to produce information that can help to strengthen and improve Aboriginal justice initiatives.
Therefore, evaluation will focus on the ways in which AJA initiatives bring about change in order to inform broader work in Aboriginal justice beyond specific programs, including informing decisions around replication and continuation of innovative and effective approaches.
Evaluation under this Agreement will include:
- using a program theory approach to explore how and why interventions generate outcomes
- outlining a minimum set of Key Evaluation Questions for any evaluations of AJA initiatives
- building evaluation capacity among community stakeholders as well as the capacity of government to commission and manage culturally responsive evaluations
- ensuring evaluation findings are communicated and made accessible to relevant stakeholders including prisoners, offenders and community members who are evaluation participants.
Monitoring and evaluation activities should be consistent with the following standards to ensure they are respectful of Aboriginal values as well as accepted guidelines for conducting ethical research[i].
- Recognise the rights of Aboriginal people to self-determination and to control, protect, maintain, and develop their cultural heritage, including traditional knowledge and intellectual property.
- Respect the right of Aboriginal people to full participation in the evaluation, in line with their relevant skills and experiences. The specialist knowledge of particular community members and their potential contributions should be recognised, and involved wherever possible and appropriate. There should be Aboriginal input into all aspects of the evaluation, including the design, ownership of data, data interpretation and publication of findings.
- Accessible and culturally-appropriate informed consent processes that make clear when, how and who will be involved in the evaluation process, what information will be collected, how the information will be recorded and used, the likely risks and benefits arising from participation and the overall potential benefits of an evaluation.
- Acknowledge the diversity and uniqueness of Aboriginal communities, groups and individuals, including different cultures, experiences, perspectives and languages. Evaluation activities should reflect the different perspectives and experiences and not generalise from one community to others or to all Aboriginal people.
- Agree on plans for the communication and use of evaluation results. The ownership of evaluation results, and how they will be used, should be agreed at the start of the evaluation with relevant Aboriginal community members and/or appropriate Aboriginal community organisations.
- Adhere to all ethics and privacy policies of the Department of Justice and Regulation.
[i] These standards were developed by drawing on the four key sources:
Australasian Evaluation Society, 2013, Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Evaluations, Available at <https://www.aes.asn.au/resources/ethical-guidelines-2.html >.
Aboriginal Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2012, Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies, Available at <https://aiatsis.gov.au/research/ethical-research >.
National Health and Medical Research Council, 2003, Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, Available at < https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/research-policy/ethics/ethical-guidelines-research-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-peoples >.
National health and Medical Research Council, 2007, National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, Available at <https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/national-statement-ethical-conduct-human-research >.