Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

2 Southgate Institute for Health Society and Equity, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

3 College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

4 Department of Health and Ageing, Adelaide, SA, Australia

5 The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Well-being, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Abstract

Background
The importance of evaluating policy processes to achieve health equity is well recognised but such evaluation encounters methodological, theoretical and political challenges. This paper describes how a program theorybased evaluation framework can be developed and tested, using the example of an evaluation of the South Australian Health in All Policies (HiAP) initiative.

 
Methods
A framework of the theorised components and relationships of the HiAP initiative was produced to guide evaluation. The framework was the product of a collaborative, iterative process underpinned by a policy-research partnership and drew on social and political science theory and relevant policy literature.

 
Results
The process engaged key stakeholders to capture both HiAP specific and broader bureaucratic knowledge and was informed by a number of social and political science theories. The framework provides a basis for exploring the interactions between framework components and how they shape policy-making and public policy. It also enables an assessment of HiAP’s success in integrating health and equity considerations in policies, thereby laying a foundation for predicting the impacts of resulting policies.

 
Conclusion
The use of a program theory-based evaluation framework developed through a consultative process and informed by social and political science theory has accommodated the complexity of public policy-making. The framework allows for examination of HiAP processes and impacts, and for the tracking of contribution towards distal outcomes through the explicit articulation of the underpinning program theory.

Highlights

Commentaries Published on this Paper

  • From Mid-Level Policy Analysis to Macro-Level Political Economy; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

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  • Ideas for Extending the Approach to Evaluating Health in All Policies in South Australia; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

          Abstract | PDF

  • How Do We Evaluate Health in All Policies?; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Evaluating Health in All Policies; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Policy, Theory, and Evaluation: Stop Mixing the Fruit Salad; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

          Abstract | PDF

  • Researching Healthy Public Policy: Navigating the ‘Black Box’ Means Thinking More About Power; Comment on “Developing a Framework for a Program Theory-Based Approach to Evaluating Policy Processes and Outcomes: Health in All Policies in South Australia”

Abstract | PDF

 

Authors' Response to the Commentaries

  • Power, Process and Context in Theory Based Evaluation of Policy Implementation: A Response to Recent Commentaries

          Abstract | PDF

Keywords

Main Subjects


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