Evaluation and Evidence: Implementation of Research Protocols
The Research and Policy team has spent a significant amount of time coaching the WHISE team to take up and implement the newly designed research and evidence protocols. Falling under the Research Platform, the team has been working closely with all members of WHISE to generate quality evidence and evaluation of our work. After each event/activity, the team produces a full evaluation report.
The Communications team also developed a visually engaging snapshot of the evaluation findings, desktop designed to help communicate and distribute findings. The work also strengthens the processes that we have in place to produce the Australian Social Value Bank’s Social Value Statements.
An example of the outputs of this can be seen in the range of supplementary attachments to this work that comprise:
- Evaluation Snapshot and Social Impact Statement of the Good Health Down South forum on Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusive Practice
- Evaluation Snapshot and Social Impact Statement of the Good Health Down South Condom learning forum
- Evaluation Snapshot and Social Impact Statement of the Good Health Down South LGBTIQ+ Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness Forum
- Social Impact Valuation of the Frankston City Council L2P Driver Workshop
- Social impact Valuation of the Intersectional Gender Lens Learning Forum
- Social Impact Valuation for Phase one of the Multicultural Community Education Team (Working for Victoria Project) (as referred to previously in this report) Submissions.
Throughout May and June 2023, WHISE staff interviewed 151 individuals representing the partnerships that WHISE has across the Southern Metropolitan Region as part of the evaluation of our work for the Department of Health’s Victorian Women’s Health Services Indicator Framework. While the Indicator Framework has asked that we collect data via an online survey, WHISE evaluated our partnerships via an interview process. This approach was later adopted by some of the other Women’s Health Services. Our goal with this approach was to apply a feminist lens to the implementation of the Indicator Framework.
Through this approach we were able to strengthen our relationships with our partners. We also wanted our partners to feel empowered by their participation in the evaluation process. This meant, inviting two or more people from each partner organisation (as it would be difficult for one person to answer all the questions), asking the questions using plain language, finding out what changes have been made in their workplace and what their strengths are, and discussing the ways that we can continue to work together over the next 12 months.
WHISE interviewed 37 partner organisations from local councils, state government, TAFE, peak organisations, tourism agencies, community health and more. This was 75% of our actively supported partners, meaning, those who WHISE has worked with one-on-one in the last 12 months.
WHISE supported its partners to implement policies, procedures, protocols, or initiatives to 1) promote gender equality in the workplace, 2) address incidents of violence, harassment, discrimination in the workplace and to educate employees about respectful workplace behaviour, and 3) promote flexible working arrangements. Changes were facilitated through a variety of actions which mainly included:
- Consulting on the development of Gender Equality Action Plans (GEAP) and providing support for conducting Gender Impact Assessments (GIA). Through these processes, WHISE identified gaps in workplaces and suggested strategies for addressing them.
- Years of mentorship, training and learning forums/webinars have provided many of our partners with knowledge and the capacity to implement policies, procedures etc.
- Hosting working groups and network meetings that provide opportunities for partners to connect and share good practice/latest research and learn from what others are doing in their own workplace or region.
We asked about the types of work our partners would like to collaborate on or receive support for over the next 12 months. These are grouped below according to WHISE’s portfolios.
- Gender equality: how to apply an intersectional gender lens; tailored support and training for conducting a GIA; support to understand the gender pay gap; training for leadership to help them to understand how gender equality impacts their work and community; training on unconscious bias and how it impacts on recruitment and selection; support for increasing buy-in from teams to implement the GEAP.
- Preventing violence against women: support to develop a new family violence action plan; support for centring lived experience in family violence primary prevention initiatives; some training for early childhood educators to be able them to identify and respond to family violence.
- Sexual and reproductive health: access to medical abortions and reproductive rights; access to long-acting revisable contraception (LARC) methods; training on affirmative consent and sexuality education; menopause information sessions.
WHS Evaluation Working Group
To support the implementation of the new guidelines and Indicator Framework, and to support the WHS to sustain our boosted funding beyond 2024, the sector has convened an evaluation working group. The working group’s high-level goals are to 1) Demonstrate the collective impact of our work to our Victorian Government funders and make the case for increased future funding from the 2024 State budget onwards; and 2) Demonstrate sector leadership by identifying and establishing an approach to coordinated long-term collective impact evaluation to support our work moving forwards.
A key product from the working group is the delivery of the WHS Collective Impact Report which was submitted to the Department of Health. This first report is a key input into the work and evidence base that will be used to advocate to the State Government to sustain our boosted funding by demonstrating the unique role and value of the WHS - what makes the WHS and our ways of working so vital and impactful. It will also provide an evaluation of State-level collective impact and demonstrate return on investment for the additional funds - what we have been able to do, and what the uplift has enabled.
The report has captured the unique collective impact story of the WHS through three main sections:
- Introduction/background: Brief historical context of WHS role and impact, and our ways of working.
- The collective impact of our work in the first year of our funding boost and what the uplift has allowed through a mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence.
- The case and our request for future funding.
Women’s Health Services Indicator Framework
The very first Indicator Framework was developed for the Victorian Women’s Health Services. It was developed by Catherine Harper, a consultant for the Department of Health and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, in collaboration with an Action Group which consisted of members from each Women’s Health Service. The Indicator Framework enables all Women’s Health Services to collect evidence of our progress towards achieving optimal health and wellbeing for all Victorian women and increasing gender equality, against the same set of indicators, using the same methodology.
Why is this exciting? It means that we can now demonstrate evidence of our individual and collective progress and impact. The Indicator Framework was piloted during February to May by some of the Women’s Health Services. Refinements were made at the request of the Evaluation Working Group, before going live in July.
The Research and Policy team has been very focused and invested in the collective work to implement the WHS Indicator Framework by strengthening WHISE’s systems and supporting the team to use the framework. This has included:
- Coaching and coordinating partner interviews.
- Participation in working group meetings to refine and provide feedback to the Department of Health on the indicator framework.
- Completing and inputting data to support the implementation of the indicator framework.
Review of Victorian State Budget 2023-24 – May 2023
An annual practice has emerged whereby our Research team undertake a review of the Victorian Budget to distribute to our partners and members.
A submission on the Federal Government’s draft strategy for the Care and Support Economy – June 2023
Submitted on behalf of the Women’s Health Services Network
South East Public Health Unit (SEPHU) Submission– June 2023
This submission was developed to pull together the evidence and data that WHISE used as part of its input and engagement with the LPHU on the region’s catchment plan.