Mid-term evaluation for a resilience funding plan

The Client: Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Mid-term evaluation

The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry manages the $100M Future Drought Fund (FDF) to support building drought resilience within the agriculture sector. The 2020-24 Drought Resilience Funding Plan (the Plan) provides a framework for expenditure of monies received from the Future Drought Fund.

The Department required an interim evaluation halfway through the program’s life to understand how it was tracking. Grosvenor was engaged to undertake the mid-term evaluation of the Plan, focusing on assessing the extent to which the Plan’s rationale remained relevant, and the progress in the delivery of programs.

In undertaking this evaluation, Grosvenor was tasked with assessing how well management, coordination and allocation has supported program delivery, and identifying challenges to design and delivery, and opportunities for improvement. Grosvenor was also required to report insights and learnings gained from undertaking this evaluation, and identify how these learnings should be applied.

An eight-step methodology was developed to undertake the mid-term evaluation. The methodology used by Grosvenor for this evaluation included:

  • review of existing information and data relating to individual programs and the FDF as a whole, such as progress and outcomes reports, monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) plans, annual reports and implementation plans
    identification of better practices through a desktop literature review, including challenges and barriers to better practice implementation
  • engagement with a range of stakeholders including staff, MEL teams, program teams and external delivery partners through one-on-one and group interviews
  • developed and analysed case studies to provide in-depth insights into the strengths and weaknesses of different procurement and delivery methods, and factors affecting outcomes realisation
  • identification of key learnings, including illustrating how these may be applied to enhance program design, delivery and effectiveness
  • drafted a comprehensive report including full details of the project undertaken, analysis of findings, key learnings and conclusions.

Throughout this project, Grosvenor engaged with the client regularly to collaborate and test thinking and ideas. This approach enabled flexibility in project delivery, allowing Grosvenor to pivot from the original methodology required to ensure that the project met the client’s needs.

Grosvenor identified a suite of learnings covering each of the key themes investigated, and accompanied by explanations of how these could be applied within the client’s context.

Our report was considered as a key piece of evidence by the Productivity Commission in the Review of Part 3 of the Future Drought Fund Act’s Interim Report. The Productivity Commission noted the Department should act on our recommendations and have a mind to the future in developing its evaluation capability, particularly with regard to being able to monitor programs at the Fund-level.