Coutts J&R

Evaluation is the foundation of strong decision making

Welcome to Coutts J&R — one of Australia’s leading evaluation companies. We have the experience and networks to meet your monitoring, evaluation and reporting needs.

Coutts J&R provides you with industry leading expertise and tools to collect, interpret and effectively use information to make the best decisions for your project and program. Our expertise is in establishing evaluation frameworks, planning and undertaking monitoring and evaluation (or mentoring your staff as they undertake the process) and measuring and reporting on impact. Our challenge is to make sure that you have the information you need to make the most informed decisions and meet your reporting requirements.

Contact Details

+61 (0)7 4630 1297
0438 361 153
PO Box 2681, Toowoomba Queensland 4350

Coutts J&R's Blog

Posted by Jeff Coutts
I went to my website recently and was astounded that my last blog was from Spring 2017! And now it is Autumn 2018. I found this incredible – had so much time really passed by? I observed to someone that I felt like I was in a ‘very-fast-train’ with the scenery rushing past me in a blur! And I know life is more about living in the moment and smelling the roses…. So time to slow down a little – but still keeping up with the blog! What makes this possible is having Ben and Amy as key partners in the business. Ben’s YourData platforms for managing and reporting M&E are much in demand and Amy continues to be an effective project manager for many of our projects.

In Australia, the end of the financial year is always a busy time for projects funded by government or industry – it’s a time of reporting or winding up and a time for evaluation reports. It is so much better to be part of an evaluation that has been built into a project or program from the start – you understand the project so much more, have had the opportunity to influence and undertake M&E data collection along the way – and you have literally years of data on which to provide a robust evaluation report which is useful.

We were fortunate to play an evaluation role in two of the initial Rural Research and Development for Profit projects – one directed at improving the effectiveness of RD&E by better engaging with the private advisory sector and the other directed at the dairy industry through increased traits to test for through milk testing. Both involved strong collaboration – as is the intention of these projects – and both brought forward benefits for the farming system.

Improved coordination and collaboration across extension programs is increasingly emerging as a goal across government and industry as they seek to gain greater efficiencies and effectiveness – making a difference in the ground. This is evident in the Cooperative Research Centres and is a major element of a two-yearly benchmark across CRCs in which I am involved. It is also a major factor in improving water quality in the reef regions of Queensland. It has been very encouraging to see the efforts going in to these areas and I am very optimistic about the gains that are being made.

Since the last blog I have been back to Chile – running the last of workshops for consultants who work with small holders (a real privilege) – as well as spot of fly fishing with colleague Octavio! And continued to cross the Tasman for the Weaving the Korowai project (improving a run down catchment). It all makes for interesting experiences and learning and chance to meet and work with fascinating people!

Meanwhile, I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days at my Cousin’s farm in Collector NSW – certainly was nice to be on the back of horse rather than in front of a computer for a short time.

Coming up is a visit back to South America and then on to Canada to visit family – with a short trip to share my insights into evaluation in Sweden. Hopefully there are many roses to smell along the way!

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News Updates

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Landscape Ecology
ETH Zurich is running the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Landscape Ecology, the discipline where natural and social sciences meet. Learn theory, methods and tools to solve landscape-related environmental problems. Building on introductory theory units, leading Landscape Ecology professors present case studies from around the world, highlighting innovative and collaborative approaches.
More details on the course page

National Forum on ‘Adaptive Governance for Transformational Change: A toolkit for action’
6th September 2018 – Victoria University of Wellington, Pipitea campus
More details on the forum website

Erosion, freshwater pollution, pests and other environmental problems are complicated, multidimensional, and often long term and slow-burning. We argue that traditional approaches to solving environmental issues are not working. Three years ago, we set ourselves the ambitious goals of changing the way New Zealanders think about and act on environmental problems. We developed a toolkit to help make progress toward the long term goals of ‘healthy land, healthy rivers, healthy people’ as part of the “Weaving the Korowai of Papatūānuku – Adaptive governance and enhanced decision-making” research programme. This programme is a partnership between Scion and He Oranga mo Nga Uri Tuku Iho Trust in Ruatorea in the East Coast of New Zealand.

24th European Seminar on Extension (and) Education 2019
The next ESEE conference will be held in Sicily in 2019. Watch this space for more details as they are available. This really is an excellent forum to learn about – and contribute to – world trends.

Sample Project

Coutts J&R together with Dr Neels Botha from AgResearch New Zealand were contracted to look at the current extension (funding) strategy of Meat & Livestock Australia and look at future scenarios to inform planning. As part of the review, the funding and extension strategies of other Rural Development Corporations and Companies in Australia and New Zealand were also explored for benchmarking and comparison purposes.

The exercise demonstrated that there was strong funding support for extension and education from the RDCs – and that extension is seen as a critical function to bring about change on the ground.

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