The Indigenous Evaluation Strategy (IES) is an opportunity to create a paradigm shift in the relationship between program and policy evaluation and execution. VACCHO endorses the development of a whole-of-government evaluation strategy, which is built on the foundation of self-determination and community control for Aboriginal people and communities. They aim to set new standards whereby evaluation is integrated into the entire policy-cycle rather than as an addition or afterthought. In order to achieve this we must place Aboriginal people at the centre of an IES, and seek genuine collaboration with Aboriginal communities in order to turn evaluation into positive policy and program outcomes.
- VACCHO’s submission argues that in order to achieve effective policy outcomes, we must first secure the principles and processes of an IES. VACCHO believes it is ineffective to set priorities before structures for evaluation have been designed, and recognises that past evaluations have been conducted with little to no adoption of evaluation findings into policy outcomes.
- The principles put forward by VACCHO include recognition, self-determination, community building, ethics, accountability, transparency, effectiveness and cultural continuity
- The Aboriginal sector is frequently asked to provide advice on the development of Federal Government (Government) policy; however, the views of Aboriginal people and Communities are rarely incorporated into policy outcomes.
- An IES must be underpinned by principles that act as tools to guide the process of evaluation, and measure the evaluation’s success. In the evaluation process there must be total transparency and commitment by Government, stakeholders and ACCOs, including mainstream organisations funded to provide services to Aboriginal people.
- The Government has an unacknowledged and often paternalistic relationship with Aboriginal people and Communities, reflected in reporting requirements, short term allocation of funding, and a sector that is under constant change, reform and scrutiny. In contrast, non-Aboriginal organisations (or mainstream organisations providing services to Aboriginal people) are chiefly preferred in funding allocations, and often are not held to account for providing measureable outcomes.