Abstract: This case study evaluated the contribution of the Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2000-2004 ('the Strategy') to the process of strengthening families and communities in the rapidly growing coastal city of Mandurah in Western Australia. This study was undertaken by a team of consultants as part of the National Evaluation of the Strategy being conducted by the Collaborative Institute for Research, Consulting and Learning in Evaluation (CIRCLE) at RMIT University. The Australian Government is currently implementing a revised version of the Strategy 2004-2009 that lies outside the scope of this evaluation. The Strategy was a $226m commitment by the Australian Government administered by the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS). The Mandurah region was one of several areas specifically targeted for assistance. FaCS approved over $1.5m of Strategy funding to nine projects in and around Mandurah addressing identified local issues of social isolation, youth at risk, families with young children and Aboriginal disempowerment. Information for this case study was collected from focus group meetings, project site visits and available documentary sources. The study found that: • the decision to target Mandurah was soundly based on the available evidence; • the Strategy made a valuable contribution to the process of strengthening some local families and communities in Mandurah; • several contextual factors contributed to the positive outcomes achieved; • FaCS staff provided valuable assistance to funded organisations; • there was some dissatisfaction with funding decision processes; • new strategic partnerships between community organisations and government agencies have been developed as a result of the Strategy; • all funded Strategy projects in Mandurah were founded on an early intervention-preventative approach; • Strategy projects in Mandurah assisted people through life transitions; • some Strategy projects contributed to more coordinated service delivery by bringing people together who had not previously worked as one; • stakeholders were found to be proud that Strategy-funded projects in Mandurah have been initiated as local solutions to local problems; • Strategy project development in Mandurah was found to be mostly informed by a local ‘learning by doing’ evidence base.
Notes: conducted by Collaborative Institute for Research, Consulting and Learning in Evaluation (CIRCLE) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University)
John Scougall, Janelle Cugley, Annette Forbes, Roslyn Humble, Patricia Rogers, 2008, Evaluation of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2000-2004 – Mandurah Targeted Region, Report, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3235.