The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), through the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), engaged Allen and Clarke to evaluate the CHCI and the EHSDI. In implementing the evaluation, Allen and Clarke has reported to the MoU Management Committee and its Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG).
DoHA commissioned the evaluation to better understand the process of developing and implementing the CHCI and EHSDI, the outcomes associated with them and, where possible, the impact the CHCI and EHSDI have had and continue to have on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT. The main purpose of the evaluation, as established by DoHA, is to provide a formative and summative assessment of the performance of the CHCI and EHSDI on the following aspects of the programs:
- effectiveness—to improve the health of the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT
- efficiency—to deliver the services in a cost-effective manner
- appropriateness—to make sure the right services are delivered in the right way to the target population in a timely manner and in accordance with Australian Government priorities and policy.
Before this evaluation was commissioned, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) had already made considerable progress in addressing some of the CHCI evaluation objectives, in collaboration with the evaluation partners. Before starting the evaluation, we were asked by DoHA to assess the feasibility of completing the analyses of the CHCI and of addressing the evaluation objectives for the EHSDI. Our approach to the evaluation is discussed in Section 2.
Box 2 shows the main agencies and inter-agency groups that have a role in the programs and/or this evaluation.
Box 2: Main partners and roles in the CHCI and EHSDI evaluation projectA number of agencies and inter-agency groups have a major role in the CHCI and EHSDI programs and this evaluation. This includes the three main evaluation partner agencies:
- The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), through the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), has overall responsibility for funding, accountability and evaluation of CHCI and EHSDI.
- The NT Department of Health and Families (DHF)1 has responsibility for planning and delivering PHC services, implementing change management strategies for expanding and reforming services, and for monitoring the health status of the NT population.
- The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) represents the Aboriginal community controlled health sector and provides support to Aboriginal communities in working towards regional health services.
The evaluation also includes the structural groups set up to oversee monitoring and evaluation activity concerning expanding and reforming NT PHC, and additional (to the three partners above) members of this group:
- The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Management Committee has representatives from the three partners above and provides advice on implementing the CHCI and EHSDI evaluation design, communicating with key stakeholders and preparing evaluation reports.
- An Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG) provides independent advice to the MoU Management Committee and to Allen and Clarke as the independent evaluators of the CHCI and EHSDI.
- The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is the data custodian for the CHCI data collections and is also a member of the MoU.
The project also includes inter-agency groups responsible for planning and implementing the NT PHC system reforms:
- The Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum (NT AHF), which has representatives from the three partners above, provides strategic direction for progressing the NT PHC reforms.
- The Primary Health Reform Group (PHRG), which has representatives from the three partners above, has been established under the NT AHF to support the NT PHC reforms.
Top of page