PC calls for Aboriginal office
The Productivity Commission has called for measures to place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the centre of policy evaluation.
The Productivity Commission has put out its proposed Indigenous Evaluation Strategy, which calls for the creation of an Office of Indigenous Policy Evaluation.
The report says government agencies know “very little” about how policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have actually impacted these communities.
“There is currently no Australian government-wide approach to priority setting for evaluations of policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” the strategy says.
“And while policy makers agree that evidence is critical for good policies, many admit that in practice they do not rely heavily on evidence, or past experience, when formulating or modifying policies and programs.”
Many measures have fallen short, according to PC commissioner Romlie Mokak.
“Evaluation can play an important role filling this gap, but regrettably it is often an afterthought and of poor quality,” he said this week.
“Importantly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are rarely asked about what, or how to evaluate, or what evaluation results mean.
“Working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is fundamental to lifting the quality of evaluations, as is planning early so that the right questions are asked and the right data collected.”
The strategy focuses on “centring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, perspectives, priorities and knowledges”, seeking ways to frame how agencies plan and conduct evaluations
The PC says agencies should retain primary responsibility for conducting evaluations, but proposes setting up an Office of Indigenous Policy Evaluation (OIPE) and an Indigenous Evaluation Council.
“Evaluation is about understanding what is working, what is not working, and what changes could be made to make policies and programs work better. Evaluation can also inform the direction of new policies and programs,” says Productivity Commission chair Michael Brennan.