Evaluating the effectiveness of user panels
The Program conducted a targeted monitoring and evaluation project to measure the effectiveness and performance of the user panels in supporting the Program. This project, undertaken by CSIRO, ran for the life of the Program and aimed to assess the effectiveness and performance of the panels and provide recommendations to improve Program outcomes.
The overarching objectives of the monitoring and evaluation project were:
- to assess the alignment between Program activities and outputs and the needs of the intended users
- to examine how data collected from the user panels has been used by the Program
- to assess how effectively the Program met the expectations of the intended (and other) users.
Project methods included observation at meetings, interviews with user panel and Program members, and surveys to track sentiment over time.
Over the life of the Program, CSIRO prepared two reports:
Evaluating the effectiveness of user panels in the GBA Program, Year 1 panels
The first monitoring and evaluation report provides an analysis of the interviews conducted with a representative sample of user panel members from the Cooper and Beetaloo GBA regions. The four primary themes that emerged from these interviews regarding the value and role of the panels in order of prominence were:
- people connections
- concern for impacts
- knowledge sharing
- procedural matters
Evaluating the effectiveness of user panels in the GBA Program, final report
The aim of the final report was to examine the expectations and experiences of the Beetaloo and Cooper GBA regional and Program stakeholders and to identify if and how the inclusion of the user panels contributed to tangible and beneficial outcomes for the Program.
The user panels were a broadly effective way to bring a range of diverse people and their deep regional experience and knowledge together with staff from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, CSIRO and Geoscience Australia. The user panels supported the Program to achieve robust scientific assessments, which has improved the confidence in science among regional stakeholders and increased awareness and understanding of the GBA Program goals.