Evaluation of the Community Advisory Communities to Boards of Victorian Public Health Services

Project Type - Program evaluation and review


The Victorian Department of Human Services (The Department) has engaged Health Outcomes International (HOI) to undertake an evaluation of the Community Advisory Committees to Boards of Victorian Public Health Services.

Objectives of the evaluation include:

  • ensuring that the evaluation contributes to DHS’s knowledge of the effects of consumer, carer and community participation on decision-making at the health service organisational level
  • ensuring that the evaluation is grounded in a philosophy of consumer, carer and community participation and conducted in a manner respectful and promoting of the contribution consumers, carers and communities make to the operation of health services
  • ensuring that relevant and appropriate data and inputs are accessed and used in the evaluation process.

Three key questions are addressed through the evaluation process:

  1. Do CACs operate in accordance with the legislation, guidelines and their terms of reference? 
  2. Is consumer, carer and community participation happening throughout the health service?
  3. Have CACs made a difference?

The conduct of this evaluation took into account the needs and expectations of the stakeholders and therefore was grounded in a philosophy of consumer, carer and community participation and incorporate a continuous quality improvement cycle.

The key methodological components of this evaluation included

  • development of an evaluation framework and consultation framework informed by a review of existing documentation and data specific to the CAC’s and a scan of the literature to confirm that the evaluation framework is evidence based, while at the same time ensuring that the consultation framework complements rather than duplicate information already available from other sources
  • stakeholder consultations of key personnel from each health service and CAC, Departmental personnel affiliated with the establishment of the CAC program, the Health Issues Centres and the Evaluation Advisory Committee. Two (2) methods of consultations were conducted: 
    • paper based evaluation- The Health Service were sent a pro-forma request for information to inform the on-site consultation processes and reduce pressure that might otherwise exist; and
    • interview based evaluation- site visits to each Health Service to confirm and elaborate on the information provided through the evaluation tool.

HOI produced a comprehensive and evidenced based final report providing an assessment of findings in two parts: State level findings and health service findings and included: 

  • Compliance outcomes
  • Performance outcomes
  • Health Issues Centre
  • Facilitators and barriers.