Participatory Evaluation: A Missing Component in the Social Change Equation for Public Services

Keast, Robyn L. (2004) Participatory Evaluation: A Missing Component in the Social Change Equation for Public Services. In Bailey, C., Cabrera, D., & Buys, L. (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century Conference; Centre for Social Change Research; Queensland University of Technology.


A series of social, economic and political forces have highlighted inadequacies in many current welfare practices and arrangements leading to a growing consensus that the welfare system needs to be reformed. However, social change in human service organisations generally, and child welfare services in particular, has proven to be difficult to achieve and sustain. A greater engagement of these agencies and their workers in the planning and implementation of reforms has been presented as a key strategy to overcome this resistance and achieve mutually satisfying service outcomes. This paper argues that participative evaluation models that deliberately and genuinely involve personnel and external agencies in understanding and assessing the reform process can contribute to the enhanced uptake of social change initiatives. Drawing on the experiences of a current, Queensland child welfare reform initiative, underpinned by a strong participatory evaluation component, the paper provides some preliminary evidence of a shift in service practice and orientation in both local community and departmental operational levels. The paper concludes with some insights into the implications of the change process for both community and government actors.

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ID Code: 655
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 1741070813
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Robyn L. Keast
Deposited On: 05 Jan 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 09:41

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