Abstract: In recent decades, financial investment has been made in health-related programs and services to overcome inequities and improve Indigenous people’s wellbeing in Australia and New Zealand. Despite policies aiming to ‘close the gap’, limited evaluation evidence has informed evidence-based policy and practice. Indigenous leaders have called for evaluation stakeholders to align their practices with Indigenous approaches.
Objectives: This study aimed to strengthen culturally safe evaluation practice in Indigenous settings by engaging evaluation stakeholders, in both countries.
Importance of study: This study responds to a need to identify strategies and practical actions to support culturally safe evaluation in Indigenous settings in Australia and New Zealand.
Study type: Concept maps for each country were generated from multi-dimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis.
Conclusion: The results suggest that the commissioning of evaluation is crucial as it sets the stage for whether evaluations: reflect Indigenous interests, are planned in ways that align with Indigenous ways of working and are translated to benefit Indigenous communities Identified strategies align with health promotion principles and relational accountability values of Indigenous approaches to research. These findings may be relevant to the commissioning and conduct of Indigenous health program evaluations in developed nations.
- What is needed, are formal governance structures and processes that include Indigenous representation and leadership in evaluation decision-making.
- Overall, in both countries, concepts supporting culturally safe evaluation had higher mean importance ratings than achievability ratings. A notable exception is the concept reflecting evaluator characteristics which was uniformly identified as most important and most achievable in both countries.
- Evaluations that build-in Indigenous representation from the commissioning stage may, in the long-term, support government health policies that aim to ‘close the gap’ in health disparities in Australia and New Zealand as well as in other developed nations.