August 12, 2021
12:30pm to 2:00pm
Online - via Zoom

OPEN Forum – Embedding evidence into everyday practice – getting started on a tight budget – lessons from Family Care and the Lighthouse Foundation

Date: 12 August 2021

Format: Zoom

The August OPEN was the third instalment of our ‘Embedding Evidence’ series which continued the discussions from our March and April forums about creating and using evidence in everyday practice.  It built on the momentum from the last two forums, with a deeper dive into the ‘what works’ for outcomes journey for different organisations.

The ‘Embedding Evidence’ series was curated to inform the sector about the different pathways that can be taken to embed data and evidence into organisational practice and systems.

The August forum began with OPEN sharing a short summary of previous two events and the key messages. Then two organisations were welcomed who shared their steps to be outcome and evidence focussed on a tight budget.


  • Dr Mandy Charman (OPEN Manager)
  • Tia Di Biase (Manager, The Lighthouse Institute) and Jackson Petrie (Therapeutic Carer) Lighthouse Foundation – a small organisation based in Melbourne which provides homes and therapeutic care programs to children and young people impacted by long-term neglect, abuse, and homelessness.
  • Dr Janet Congues (Evaluation and Research Coordinator) Family Care – a regional medium-sized organisation providing a range of services to families and young people in Shepparton, Seymour, Cobram, Kinglake, Wallan, Alexandra, Kilmore, and surrounding districts.

Key messages

  • Reflect on the features that enable a culture of evidence in an organisation. These include having clear and consistent leadership, involving staff, and building skills, setting up supportive business systems and processes engaging end users.
  • Think about ‘everyday evaluation’ by building skills and understanding, and then moving onto to supporting the leadership and systems dimensions.
  • Undertake a needs assessment across the organisation to understand the availability/shortage of resources and existing challenges/opportunities to use/create evidence.
  • Use a consultative and reflective process which combines top-down and bottom-up approaches to build internal evidence capability of all staff (such as senior management, practitioners, administrative and marketing).
  • Make data meaningful and purposeful to inform and support different teams and their functions.
  • Learn from the sector and work with different partners such as universities, donors, and other agencies to develop collaborative projects.
    • An example of such a collaboration has resulted in an industry-based PhD Scholarship where the candidate will be coached by Family Care and Social Work staff at La Trobe’s Shepparton Campus. The student will analyse data on Family Care’s activity levels and contribute to developing a data platform that reports accurately, and in real time, on client activities, outcomes, and feedback. To know more about this PhD scholarship, click here.

These are just some of the few lessons that were shared – check out the full recording and download the presentations here (Lighthouse and Family Care) to learn about the range of strategies that these organisations are using.

Links shared during the forum and other OPEN resources:

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