Evaluation of the QMHC’s Better Futures Grants Program 2019‒2020

Evaluation of the QMHC’s Better Futures Grants Program 2019‒2020, Queensland Mental Health Commission

The Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) Better Futures Grant aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing, and social inclusion of people with a lived experience of mental illness, problematic alcohol and other drug use, or those impacted by suicide, through a focus on employment or housing. QMHC awarded four grants in 2019-2020 of up to $200,000 each over a two-year timeframe. QMHC engaged LivSmart (a subsidiary of HMA) to develop, implement and report on the evaluation of the QMHC Better Futures Grants for 2019–2020, and to build the capacity of grant recipients to conduct local level evaluations.

As a measure of cost-effectiveness, the evaluation used a Social Return on Investment (SROI) framework to measure the social impact of the four interventions. In contrast to other health economic evaluations (e.g. cost benefit or cost-consequence), SROI does not require the direct link between activities undertaken and associated cost-savings incurred to be proved. Instead, the aim is to agree on a set of proxies that will provide a mechanism to cost activities that do not commonly have a material value. To do this, we considered the result of the program activity, how the result could otherwise be achieved, and the associated cost for alternative mechanisms. The SROI is then calculated using agreed financial proxies, adjusted for

  • Attribution: assessment of how much of the outcome was caused by the contribution of other organisations or people.
  • Deadweight: assessment of what would have occurred anyway, in terms of achievement of outcomes, in the absence of the initiative activity.
  • Displacement: assessment of how much of the change is new change or movement of change from somewhere else, i.e. whether achievement of the outcomes precludes others from experiencing the outcome.
  • Benefit period: the period beyond the intervention for which benefits will be retained.
  • Drop-off: the rate at which outcomes deteriorate over time.

SROI calculations were undertaken for all four initiatives as well as the overall grant program.

The evaluation commenced in 2019 and was completed in December 2021.