Background: Sustineo was contracted to provide an evaluation and limited assurance technical audit of Parks Australia’s implementation of the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2013-23. The goal of the evaluation was to establish clear recommendations and lessons that could be implemented as Parks Australia developed the next management plan for the network.
Approach: We implemented a mixed-methods approach to the evaluation, relying on both secondary and primary data sources to assess progress against the strategies detailed in the Management Plan. We undertook a desk assessment, working with the client to ensure all relevant content could be accessed and included in the assessment for the most thorough outcome possible. We carried out 16 key informant interviews with a variety of stakeholders, including Parks Australia staff, scientists, and South-east Marine Park Advisory Committee (SEMPAC) members. Our approach ensured a holistic understanding of the context and progress of the Management Plan and allowed cross-cutting analysis of findings against key evaluation themes.
Outcome: Our evaluation team delivered an in-depth evaluation report that drew together all key findings under each evaluation theme, incorporating technical audit and interview outcomes for a comprehensive output. The report detailed findings on implementation effectiveness, lessons learned and recommendations for the development of the next South-east Management Plan and other Australian Marine Parks management plans. In addition, we produced a condensed summary report for dissemination to the public by Parks Australia as part of their “Have your say” public consultation process.