Specialist expertise in health and social policy evaluation

The Sax Institute provides independent evaluations that help policy agencies understand the value, impact and outcome of programs and policies.

We specialise in pragmatic, real-world evaluations, and offer agencies a unique skillset and approach that combines academic rigour with a deep understanding of the policy landscape.

Since 2016, the Sax Institute has evaluated a wide range of health and social services, including suicide prevention, health service delivery, integrated care and disability inclusion.

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We work with agencies to understand their evaluation questions and provide useful and timely evidence for solving them.

The Sax Institute’s evaluation approach

  • Evaluation planning, including program logic development
  • Conducting developmental, process and outcome evaluations
  • Training and capacity building in evaluation methods and approaches

What we offer

A rigorous yet flexible approach

We keep up with the latest methods in the rapidly developing field of pragmatic evaluations to ensure that our work remains rigorous, timely and useful. We specialise in mixed-methods, quasi-experimental and experimental designs, and using routinely collected data to understand the systemic impact of policies and programs.

Nationwide expertise

Each evaluation is led by an in-house team of experts and draws on our network of 60 members, providing access to the country’s top experts at leading research institutions.

Solutions that work for you

We work with you from the start to define the problem, ask the right questions, and embed evaluation approaches into the design and implementation of your policy or program. Our team has turned being ‘easy to work with’ into an art form.

Proven track record

We have extensive experience working with governments and NGOs to answer evaluation questions. Our team understands your world, and the imperatives and time pressures faced by people in government and non-government agencies.

Find out more

Who we’ve worked with

  • NSW Health
  • NSW Department of Communities and Justice
  • NSW Mental Health Commission
  • icare
  • Canteen
  • Cancer Institute NSW
  • BUPA
  • Victorian Department of Health  
  • ACT Health
  • Queensland Health
  • University of Sydney
  • Australian Government Department of Health

We wanted an independent eye on what we were implementing. The Evaluate team clearly understood what our needs were, contributed ideas, and helped us clarify what we wanted to do.

Youth Health and Wellbeing Team, NSW Health

Examples of our work

Year(s)2017 – 2021
Client nameVictorian Department of Health
Evaluation typeDevelopment of monitoring and evaluation frameworks, participatory/developmental evaluation, formative/process evaluation, summative/outcome evaluation, modelling analysis, systems change and collective impact evaluation.
OutcomesThe Sax Institute partnered with Monash University’s Southern Synergy Research Centre to conduct this evaluation, which included the development of a multi-site, multi-phase evaluation framework, embedding monitoring within routine reporting processes with real-time reporting, a developmental evaluation of the establishment phase, a formative phase evaluation of the trial, and a summative phase evaluation (submitted October 2021).
Year(s)2020 – 2021
Client nameNSW Health
Evaluation typeParticipatory/developmental evaluation, formative/process evaluation, qualitative and quantitative project design.
OutcomesThe Secondary Triage for Residential Aged Care Facilities (ST-RACF) initiative in NSW was implemented by NSW Health, in partnership with NSW Ambulance (NSWA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise unnecessary transfers from residential aged care facilities (RACF) to Emergency Departments and/or hospitals. The Sax Institute completed a review of the existing literature (Evidence Snapshot) as well as a formative evaluation to understand how well the model was implemented and identify preliminary outcomes for RACF staff and residents, as well as the NSW health system.
Client nameCommonwealth Department of Health
Evaluation typeParticipatory/developmental evaluation, formative/process evaluation, summative/outcome evaluation, systems change, health equity, co-design, and co-production.
OutcomesThe Sax Institute, in partnership with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), is evaluating a pilot focused on improving the primary health care system’s response to domestic and family violence. A key component of this program is a training package to support General Practitioners to more confidently and effectively recognise and respond to domestic and family violence. The pilot also includes locally integrated models of identification, response and referral that bring together the primary care and domestic and family violence sectors. The Sax Institute, in partnership with ANROWS, is implementing the national evaluation across all six Primary Health Networks.
Name of projectEvaluation of Anticipatory Care Project
Year(s)2018 – 2020
Client nameTasmanian Department of Health
Evaluation typeDevelopment of monitoring and evaluation frameworks, participatory/developmental evaluation, systems change evaluation, preventative health, action research.
OutcomesThe Sax Institute developed a monitoring and evaluation framework and evaluated the innovative Anticipatory Care Project. Anticipatory care is a population approach to health care that supports people who are at risk of developing chronic conditions with the aim of preventing or slowing down ill-health. The Tasmanian Government provided funding to four Tasmanian communities to try out new ways of delivering anticipatory care with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of their communities. The project was implemented through a partnership approach with a range of community and health based organisations, including the Patrick Street GP Clinic in Ulverstone, the Flinders Island Aboriginal Association (FIAAI) together with the Flinders Island Health Co-ordination Group in Flinders Island, Starting Point Neighbourhood House and the Northern Suburbs Community Centre in Launceston, and Clarence City Council in Clarence. The evaluation focused on achievements and implementation of the program, as well as implications for future policy and planning for the Department of Health. The evaluation applied a systems lens to analyse the nature of learning and change across the project sites.
Year(s)2019 – 2020
Client nameCommonwealth Department of Health
Evaluation typeYoung people’s health, formative/process evaluation, qualitative and quantitative project design.
OutcomesThe Sax Institute worked collaboratively with CanTeen to develop the evaluation plan and support the implementation of the evaluation. The YCS Strategic Advisory Group, which includes leaders from across Australia in youth cancer services, were also engaged at key points throughout the evaluation to provide feedback on scope and methodology, the interim evaluation results, perceptions of existing governance structures and opportunities for enhancing these, and reviewing the evaluation findings and developing recommendations. A mixed methods approach was used for the evaluation, including analysis of performance data from each jurisdiction across Australia, a document review, and consultations with those involved in YCS from across Australia. These consultations included state and territory government representatives, lead clinicians, service managers, Chief Medical Officers, multidisciplinary teams, allied health professionals, and advisory groups (including the Strategic Advisory Group, the Data Advisory Group and the Youth Advisory Group), with over 70 stakeholders consulted.