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Building evaluation capacity in micro community organisations—more burden than benefit?


Doherty, BT and Eccleston, R and Hansen, E and Natalier, K and Churchill, B, Building evaluation capacity in micro community organisations more burden than benefit?, Evaluation of Journal of Australasia, 15, (4) pp. 29-37. ISSN 1035-719X (2015) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1177/1035719X1501500404


Building evaluation capacity in community organisations is promoted as a key means of creating an evaluation culture that will reorient organisations towards identifying and measuring outcomes, demonstrating achievements and enhancing accountability. Building evaluation capacity presents a number of challenges for micro-organisations, including limited resources for evaluation, a low existing evaluation skills base, and, an organisational culture and practice that does not align well with evaluation tools and techniques typically used to demonstrate program outcomes. The implementation of the Thriving Communities Healthy Families pilot project in Tasmania, a place-based health promotion intervention delivered through Neighbourhood Houses (NH), included an evaluation capacity building (ECB) component. The pilot project is used in this article as a case study to illustrate the tensions that arose for community development workers in the NH as they implemented a new program, and contended with the demands of developing their evaluation capacity. We found that while community development workers value evaluation and the importance of demonstrating program outcomes, the model of building evaluation capacity of the workers themselves was burdensome. Further, some workers perceived that evaluation activities impacted negatively on their primary role of supporting vulnerable community members. We conclude that, in very small community sector organisations, ECB requires an ongoing mentoring/relationship-building approach, rather than a traditional training approach. This has implications for how to fund ECB and raises questions on where best to focus ECB in these micro-organisations. Introduction

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public policy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Doherty, BT (Dr Theresa Doherty)
UTAS Author:Eccleston, R (Professor Richard Eccleston)
UTAS Author:Hansen, E (Dr Emily Hansen)
UTAS Author:Churchill, B (Mr Brendan Churchill)
ID Code:105047
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-12-07
Last Modified:2016-09-09
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