Courage Partners has a core team of staff members, a network of business partners and associates, substantial project facilities, and a strong reputation for proven delivery.
This structure and experience provides the company with a strong and stable base allowing us to provide:
- intimate support with responsiveness and flexibility;
- a range of services of a very high standard; and
- the capacity to manage large scale, long-term projects or short low budget quick turn-around projects with same high standards of quality.
We can help you in a variety of ways from the range of professional services listed below.
Evaluation and review
Agencies are increasingly aware of the growing emphasis on measuring and assessing the performance of public sector programs in achieving their purpose. This has been given impetus with the passage of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2013A00123.
Courage is a specialist evaluation and review company with deep knowledge of planning, conducting and reporting of evaluations, as well as providing follow up support with implementation. We design our evaluations in close partnership with you to suit your particular requirements and support your needs – whether:
- short timeframe and low budget;
- or more extensive projects; and
- sometimes running in conjunction with program implementation, so learning can be incorporated as the program progresses.
Courage has conducted over 500 program and project evaluations, reviews or evaluation related activities, including major consultations. All have been delivered on time, on budget and to our client’s satisfaction.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – Evaluation of Strategic Asset Management. This was a forward looking evaluation of the asset planning and asset management approach, and looked at the extent to which the Department was readily able to identify future capital budget requirements.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – support for the evaluation of the Aviation and Maritime Security Identification Card (ASIC and MSIC) schemes initiatives. We worked with the Department to assess the extent to which new policy initiatives and supporting activities designed to strengthen the ASIC and MSIC schemes, were likely to achieve their intended objectives and inform what further work was necessary.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – Review of Round One of the National Regional Stronger Fund (NSRF). The purpose of the Review of Round One of the NSRF was to identify the extent to which the programme was on track to achieve objectives, with Review Findings to be considered in informing subsequent Rounds of the programme.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Courage conducted a departmental priority evaluation of the management of the Indian Ocean Territories by WA government on behalf of the Commonwealth. This significant project also involved the development of a supporting programme logic and recommendations concerning a monitoring and evaluation framework.
Master Builders Australia (MBA). An evaluation of the Construction Apprenticeship Mentoring Scheme (CAMS) to assess the extent and nature of impacts of an innovative and national mentoring programme to support apprentices in the construction industry.
Infrastructure and Transport (now Infrastructure and Regional Development). Courage worked with the department on a series of major evaluations, consultations and monitoring and evaluation framework projects. These included for the $1.75 billion Roads to Recovery program and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity program – both part of the Infrastructure Investment Program; and keys2drive, a Commonwealth funded learner driver program administered and delivered by the Australian Automobile Association.
Immigration and Border Protection. Courage conducted a significant evaluation of the Compliance Status Resolution program for the department to confirm it was delivering outcomes consistent with Government policies in the Immigration sector.
FaHCSIA (now Social Services). Courage undertook an evaluation of the Youth in Communities program, component of the Australian Governments Closing the Gap initiative. YIC was a complex $28.4m initiative targeting young “at risk” Indigenous people 10-20 years of age living in remote communities.
Environment / Heritage. Courage evaluated the Jobs Fund Heritage program for the then Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. This was an Australian Government grants program which provided $60 million for heritage projects.
FaHCSIA (now Social Services). Courage evaluated the Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability program. This evaluation examined the effectiveness of the activity, models of service delivery, costing implications and relationships with other government departments.
Australian Olive Association (AOA). Courage conducted an evaluation of the profitability and future of the Australian Olive Industry. All recommendations were accepted, including building a new National Peak Body and developing a Code of practice and Australian Standards. Courage provided subsequent ongoing support to implement the recommendations.
Evaluation capability, training and mentoring
In addition to the conduct of evaluations, Courage has extensive experience in supporting agencies to enhance their own evaluation capability including planning, conducting and managing their evaluations and working to build a supporting culture.
Courage does this through working with the agency in its strategy development, through training, mentoring, skills and knowledge transfer, and the development of tailored support tools (e.g. policies and procedures, evaluation handbooks or manuals).
Infrastructure and Regional Development. Courage has delivered its own evaluation training course for the department’s managers and staff as an integral element of their evaluation capability development. Courage regularly delivers two different courses for Department staff:
- What’s the logic? Incorporating monitoring and evaluation (M&E) into programme, policy and regulatory design. (The overall objective of the course is to introduce the logic process and to develop a framework to monitor and evaluate the performance of a programme, policy or regulation; and
- Managing and Conducting Evaluations. A practical approach to the planning, design and conduct of evaluations.
Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA). From 2007 Courage designed and delivered the IPAA Evaluation Training Program – a comprehensive program for public sector program managers.
FaHCSIA (now Social Services). Courage worked with the ‘Evaluation Hub’ to develop the department’s Evaluation Handbook which was formally launched by the Secretary in 2013. The purpose of the Handbook was to provide a working understanding of the theory, principles and conduct of evaluation.
Immigration and Border Protection. From to 2010 to 2015 Courage delivered evaluation training designed by us specifically for the department’s program managers and staff as an integral element of its evaluation capability development. Courage also provides evaluation mentoring to Immigration staff when required.
Canberra Evaluation Forum (CEF). Our Managing Director, Noel Sutton, was the Convenor of the CEF since 1997 to 2015. The CEF is a major networking forum promoting evaluation through high quality speakers addressing key relevant topics. The Forum has made a significant contribution to a better awareness and understanding of evaluation and attracts on average over 100 participants each month to its session.
Mentoring. Courage routinely provides mentoring support to its clients to support staff in the conduct of their own evaluations and development of their own M&E frameworks. Recent examples have included within Departments of Infrastructure, Immigration and Department of Health.
Program logic, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Frameworks
Departments and program managers are recognising the value of a clear understanding of the logic that underpins their programs – the theory of change that links their outcomes to the program’s activities. This logic is best mapped (usually as a diagram) during the program design stage but it can be developed at any stage to assist in better understanding, managing, measuring and evaluating the program.
Mapping the logic of your program is the first step in developing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework that provides a strategy for evaluating the program; and identifies the data to be collected through routine monitoring over the life of the program that will be needed to support those evaluations when conducted.
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – M&E Frameworks. In recent years Courage successfully developed a range of programme logics and M&E frameworks for Infrastructure’s programmes, policies and regulations. These frameworks entailed development of programme logics, success measures and data sources table, and evaluation strategies. Infrastructure activities supported have included: Drought Communities; Stronger Communities; Community Development Grants; National Stronger Regions Fund; Bridge Renewal, Roads to Recovery; Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity; Regional Aviation Access; Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity; Indian Oceans Territories; Norfolk Island; Aviation and Maritime Security Identification Card (ASIC and MSIC) schemes; and Freight Rail Policy.
FaHCSIA (now Social Services). Courage undertook an evaluation activity of the Youth in Communities Program (a component of the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap initiative) which included development of a complex program logic and monitoring and evaluation framework for the life of the program.
FaHCSIA (now Social Services). Courage developed both a program logic and evaluation framework for the Cape York Welfare Reform Trials – a complex set of strategies and initiatives aimed at changing social norms in four of the Cape York communities.
Immigration and Border Protection. Revision of the program logic and development of a monitoring and evaluation strategy as part of the evaluation of the Compliance Status Resolution program.
Environment / Heritage. Development of program logic for the range of community and indigenous heritage programs.
What do we do?
Courage has a proven track record and depth of experience in the management and conduct of performance audits and other similar assurance review projects.
Courage can either conduct the performance audit as an independent organisation or provide auditors to supplement your teams.
In addition Courage is able to provide supplementary support such as, initial planning and design facilitation, and conduct of supporting surveys, or separate analysis of data
Examples of performance audits undertaken by Courage (either as an outsourced arrangement or in direct support) in recent years include:
- worked with ANAO in support of their KPIs audits; and
- internal audit of the Contract and Procurement Arrangements in the Office of Auditor-General
- cross-agency performance audits for the ANAO on the ‘Management and Processing of Leave’; and
- the adequacy of Commonwealth agencies’ ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Internet-delivered Programs and Services’ with the ANAO; and
- a cross-agency performance audit on the ‘Administration of the Freedom of Information Act 1989’ for the ACT Auditor General.
General Business Services
Courage can provide a range of services to your staff to conduct or support key business operations. This may include:
- Development of performance information and success measures
- Strategic and business planning – identifying future directions and how to get there
- Survey design and conduct – either as a stand-alone activitie or in support of evaluations and audits
- Change management – possibly incorporating evaluation and strategic planning support
Courage has numerous examples of successful activities in this space which can be discussed with you as required.