By Alison Wallace | 6 Sep 2017

Urbis won the prestigious Best Evaluation Award at the Australian Evaluation Society (AES) Awards for Excellence in Evaluation 2017. The award recognises the team’s groundbreaking work on Newpin Social Benefit Bonds, Australia’s first Social Benefit Bond (SBB).

With more children placed in Out of Home Care every year, there is a critical need to find new and better ways of having these children safely restored to their families wherever possible. Newpin, operated by Uniting, works with families to do this.

Newpin is funded through an SBB – a new financial instrument that pays a return to investors based on the achievement of agreed social outcomes.

The Newpin evaluation clearly shows that the best program evaluations are done when funders, service providers and an independent evaluator work closely together.

Director Alison Wallace said: “We are incredibly proud to be involved with this evaluation, which is making a significant contribution to the evidence base of this world-leading program.

“Our evaluation shows that the Newpin program model can work. Importantly, it also challenges assumptions and stereotypes about restoration of children to families. Young children in Out of Home Care can be returned safely to their parents given the right approach and support.”

Nicki Hutley, Urbis Chief Economist, added: “The stakes were high and the findings were under considerable scrutiny by a wide range of stakeholders – including private investors, government and service providers. This model is an innovative way to provide services, and it was essential to measure its social and economic success.

“The Newpin evaluation clearly shows that the best program evaluations are done when funders, service providers and an independent evaluator work closely together.”

Urbis’ evaluation incorporates not only an analysis of social, economic and organisational outcomes but also program and practice developments to add to the knowledge base about what works, why and in what circumstances is it most successful.

The evaluation highlighted the growing number of children who are being successfully restored to fathers rather than to mothers – an option that would not have been given serious consideration in the past.

The model was found to work as well with Aboriginal as non -Aboriginal families – another significant and important finding that will inform future program design and development.

This information will inform funding decisions, future roll -outs of the program and the documentation of best practice.

Urbis is conducting the ongoing seven-year evaluation of the program on behalf of NSW Treasury, to truly test the long-term success and impacts.

The AES Awards for Excellence in Evaluation recognise exemplary evaluation practice, evaluation systems or evaluation capacity building in Australasia. The annual awards provide significant peer recognition for leading evaluators, leading evaluations, evaluation best practice and emerging evaluators.

To learn more about the collaborative work done by Urbis’ policy and economics experts, get in touch with one of the team:

Alison Wallace View Profile
Poppy Wise View Profile
Julian Thomas View Profile
Caroline Tomiczek View Profile