About the Expert Panel project

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has been commissioned by Department of Social Services (DSS) to manage the establishment of an Expert Panel to support, strengthen and evaluate the Department's Families and Children Activity.

What is the Expert Panel?

The Expert Panel was established via a tender process in late-2014. It comprises research, practice and evaluation experts from a range of service delivery, research, training, academic and service support backgrounds. The Expert Panel will be accessible to DSS as a resource to support FaC service providers, and will provide access to tools and expertise to assist them to deliver high quality services.

The members of the Expert Panel will also be available to service providers working with families and children via an “Industry List”, maintained by AIFS. Service providers can directly source assistance from their preferred Industry List member using their existing funding.

Access further information about the Industry List

Updates on the establishment of the Expert Panel, Industry List and associated procedures are distributed via the CFCA fortnightly news.

What can members of the Panel help with?

Both the Expert Panel (via DSS) and the Industry List will help services plan, implement and evaluate existing programs, and provide assistance to both small and large projects. They will also assist in building the evidence base by trialling and evaluating new approaches where the need has been identified by the service. It is not intended that the work of the Expert Panel or the Industry List will replace or circumvent research and evaluation activities that are already being undertaken by the sector.

The Expert Panel and/or Industry List will:

  1. provide implementation support and training for organisations in the use of evidence-based programs and practice;
  2. support the development of outcome measures that organisations can use to evaluate the extent to which they have helped their clients;
  3. provide training and support in the development and evaluation of outcome measures;
  4. support organisations to trial and evaluate new approaches, particularly in prevention and early intervention; and
  5. conduct other research and evaluation activities.

Steering Committee

A high-level Steering Committee was convened to provide guidance and advice on the work of the panel in the initial development and implementation stages of the project. The Steering Committee was formally dissolved in mid 2017. The Expert Panel project continues to be guided by multi-level consultations, including user feedback.

AIFS will manage the Panel and the Industry List through the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange. The CFCA information exchange will continue to operate as a dissemination point for research and evaluation work undertaken within the Families and Children Activity, to share knowledge on what works and what doesn’t work to improve outcomes for children and families.

Please subscribe to CFCA news to receive further information on the development and implementation of the Panel. Information will also be available on the Department’s website.

As the development of the Panel will be guided by feedback from service providers and other key stakeholders, processes may change over time.

The feature image on this page is Silhouette by Gido, CC BY 2.0.