Coutts J&R are undertaking the mid-term review of the Apple and Pears Communication Program to look at effectiveness and changes that may make the program (even) more effective. Amy Samson is taking a lead role in this based on her extensive background in communication programs and their evaluations.
Jeff and his team at Coutts J&R has provided leadership in the development of intervention and evaluation approaches across Australia and beyond in rural and regional development, Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) and education. The projects listed in this section are examples of those undertaken in recent years – ranging from individual project evaluations to working with national funding bodies to developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks to guide investments and reporting.Read More
Program and Project Evaluations (40 projects)
The NCCARF Phase 2 buillt on the research undertaken in Phase 1 to provide tools, information products and capacity building to assist local coastal councils in planning and decision-making to manage climate change influences. The principle purpose of the consultancy was given as developing a monitoring and evaluation reporting framework for the term of the Phase 2 Funding Agreement, monitoring progress against the key performance indicators specified in the monitoring and evaluation program plan and reporting on those results through quarterly reports using the [provided] traffic light report template and annual reports. It also included a mid-term and final evaluation of the program.
The Sheep’s Back is an AWI Network Project managed by Icon Agriculture. It is nearing to the end of its current phase – and, following the mid-term review that we undertook, Coutts J&R is undertaking an impact survey for the project.
A survey was undertaken of 130 sheep producers across Queensland to gain feedback and impact data on the value of the network to them. Leading Sheep is an important partnership between the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Australian Wool Innovation and is supported by AgForce. The program is described on the website as being designed to help Queensland’s sheep and wool producers increase their long-term productivity and profitability by maintaining a high level of engagement with producers in three regions across the state. The survey resulted in very positive feedback and examples of impact and provided the quantitative data needed for reporting back to the funders.
Horticulture Innovation Australia (formerly Horticulture Australia Limited) receives levies from pineapple growers and then invests it in development projects. This project is based around an Industry Development Officer who is essentially and Information broker and event facilitator for the 80 growers in the industry. The review explored the value and impact of this approach to facilitating industry development.
The Sheep’s Back is an AWI Network Project managed by Icon Agriculture. This review focuses on the processes of the Evaluation Plan, progress to date and gaps identified of The Sheep’s Back (TSB) on the current third phase which began July 2014. It also looks at the data collected to date to see the progress and indicative impact of The Sheep’s Back Network’s activities on participants.
The Merredin Managed Environmental Facility (MEF) is part of a number of MEFs funded by GRDC in partnership with other organisations. The Merredin Facility is located on a research station owned and operated by the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia. The facility seeks to explore genetic traits that can assist in breeding more drought resistant grain varieties. This evaluation comes at the end of the first establishment phase of the facility and focuses on the operational side of the facility to learn from the experience and prepare for the next phase.
The purpose of this desktop review was to evaluate the processes and impacts of SheepConnect Tasmania (SCT) over 2013 and as a result review its current evaluation plan, discuss any gaps and suggest improvements where needed. A joint venture between Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, (TIA) SheepConnect Tasmania is a communication and extension program aimed at increasing productivity confidence and resilience of Tasmanian wool-growing businesses, and enhancing the industry’s reputation of being profitable and sustainable. The program is part of a seven state based producer extension network supported by AWI. It is AWI’s key investment in extension for the Tasmanian sheep and wool industries.
The purpose of the reviews of these projects funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through Caring for our Country was to learn from the experiences of the current phases of the programs to inform future phases.
The Healthy Habitats project was an initiative of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) to protect and enhance the region’s significant biodiversity assets. It was multifaceted and large in scope and scale. The methodology included a desktop review, interviews with informed persons and a team workshop debrief.
The Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers Program was designed to foster traditional Custodians working in partnerships to manage, maintain and protect the unique cultural, spiritual and natural values of Booburrgan Ngmmunge. The program funding and staffing was managed by BMRG with the Bunya People’s Aboriginal Corporation BPAC providing leadership and guidance. There were four Rangers and a Coordindator who provided the on-ground presence of the program. A part time project officer supported the program.
The Reef Rescue Project was a key element of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, by changing land management to reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment run-off. Reef Rescue at a national level was a partnership between government, industry and Natural Resource Management organisations including the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG). In the Burnett Mary, Reef Rescue is managed by the Burnett Mary Reef Partnership. The methodology used in this evaluation included a desktop review and workshops with the delivery team, Working Group members and other stakeholders.
This project evaluated three of the major projects funded by Caring For our Country – Reef Rescue; Healthy Habitats; and the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers. The purpose is to learn from the experiences to inform the next rounds of the same projects. The process used a very interactive approach with project teams and stakeholders to gain their insights into what worked well and why – and what could be improved into the future.