Assessing Performance and Capacity Improvements in Regionally Based Delivery of NRM

Project Background

An initial project was undertaken in 2007 which established a national baseline for reporting on several key intermediate outcomes associated with the regional delivery of NRM. The methodology was based on interviews with regional NRM groups, regional stakeholder organisations and staff from Australian and State Government NRM agencies and departments.

Key intermediate outcomes assessed in the initial project included:

  1. Capacity of regional NRM bodies: This included the capacity of regional bodies to make NRM decisions on the basis of their management and NRM program capacity and their external engagement.
  2. Engagement in NRM: Engagement included the meaningful involvement of stakeholders, including community, landholders, industry and others in NRM decision making, with the intent of achieving NRM outcomes at the regional level.
  3. Partnerships in NRM: Partnerships was defined on the basis of the relationship amongst regional NRM bodies and Australian and state governments in the delivery of NRM programs.
  4. Recognition of the social foundations of NRM: Recognition was defined as the extent to which engagement, partnerships and capacity building had been recognised in Australian and state government policies, frameworks and guidelines and regional body activities.

Confidential reports were provided to each of the participating regional NRM groups. In addition a national report was also developed from this project which is available for download:

A national baseline for the social and institutional foundations of natural resource
management programs
(Acrobat document 3.9MB)

The questionnaires used in interviews are also available for download:

Questionnaire used with regional NRM bodies (Word document 111kb)
Questionnaire used with regional stakeholder organisations (Word document 44kb)
Questionnaire used with Australian Government participants (Word document 37kb)
Questionnaire used with State Government participants (Word document 38kb)

Project Objectives

The objective of the current project is to review and revise the previous nationally agreed methodology developed by the National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA) to determine an appropriate methodology for assessing regional NRM delivery, capacity and performance.

Since 2007 there have been significant changes in the regional delivery of NRM, with the implementation of the Caring for our Country program and the development of a Caring for our Country business plan with identified NRM outcomes and targets.

The review of the previous methodology must also address the outcomes and targets associated with community skills, knowledge and engagement as identified in the 2009-1010 Caring for our Country business plan.

While the initial project undertaken in 2007 provided a national baseline, replicating the project in the future will enable change against the baseline to be assessed. As such it is critically important to not only ensure the methodology is appropriate but that the findings can be usefully applied to future implementation of NRM programs.

Current Project Methodology

The project is to be undertaken between July and August 2009. In undertaking the review a project methodology has been developed which includes three stages:

  1. Preliminary methodological review. This review is primary based on a desktop analysis ofthe data set as collected in the original project. It will also include the identification of appropriate indicators and interview questions to address Caring for our Country targets.
  2. Project review workshop. A project review workshop is to be held on the 12 th of August 2009 in Canberra. The aim of the workshop is to provide comment on the preliminary methodological review and ensure the outcomes of the project provide useful information and data for future NRM program delivery. Workshop participants would primarily include Australian and State/Territory Government representatives.
  3. Post workshop review . The post-workshop methodological review includes reviewing and revising the information included in the preliminary methodological review in the light of information drawn from the project review workshop.

Your Comments and Feedback

We would appreciate any comments or feedback you could provide on improving the project methodology and the usefulness of project outcomes at a regional, State and National level.

For example, some of the questions which the review will address include:

  1. How do we make the project outcomes more useful at regional, State and National level?
  2. How do we address issues with self evaluation, including specifically the positive bias which may be introduced when participants evaluate their own group’s capacity or performance?
  3. What additional questions need to be asked to address the Caring for our Country targets, specifically those associated with community skills, knowledge and engagement?
  4. In reviewing all the questions used in the previous questionnaires, which are the most useful and need to be retained and which questions need to be discarded?

Please send your comments or information directly to Mark Fenton at

Environment & Behaviour Consultants - 3 Victoria Street - Townsville - 4810 Qld - AUSTRALIA - Tel (61) 07 47 722 544

Design by Adam Robinson