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Leading with lived experience

25 Mar 2021

The Commission has engaged an evaluator with lived experience to evaluate the new mental health consumer representative peak establishment project.

The project to establish a new mental health consumer peak in Queensland is led by a project team with lived experience and the project steering committee is co-chaired by a person with lived experience.

Seven Committee members (including one of the co-chairs) were recruited for their lived experience and ability to represent the collective interests of groups such as Aboriginal people, veterans, young people, and people from LGBTIQ+ and rural and remote communities.

The Committee, established in 2020, has made important decisions about the legal structure and governance of the new consumer peak.

The consumer peak organisation is in the final stages of development and interviews are taking place to recruit a board of directors and an interim chief executive officer (CEO).

The Commission will hand the consumer peak body, which will be a registered company, over to the new board.

Evaluating the establishment project will follow best-practice guidelines to tell the story of the project. The evaluator will aim to determine what has occurred and why, and what should happen next. The evaluation will be able to inform other projects across the Commission and beyond.

The Commission and Committee are pleased to be working with lived experience evaluator Jo Farmer and her colleague, Sue Muller. Jo and Sue are consulting stakeholders as they work to design an evaluation strategy.

Jo said lived-experience evaluation was an emerging field.

“The reason lived experience evaluation matters to me is that evaluators help to establish the standards by which programs, projects and policies are understood and assessed,” she said.

“Having lived experience involved in the evaluation means that the standards interventions are held to reflect the things that matter to the people who are meant to be helped and supported by that intervention.

“I think it also helps to deliver better evaluations. People with lived experience often offer new perspectives and insights that policymakers, program designers and clinicians can miss.”

The evaluation of lived-experience-led projects can inform the design of future projects by demonstrating and documenting what works well and what success looks like.

The Commission plans to share the results of the evaluation once it is complete.

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