The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services contracted KBC Australia to undertake an evaluation of a suite of strategies developed and implemented by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC) to support food businesses in meeting the food allergen requirements of the Food Act and Food Standards Code. This project was led by Dr Cath Sefton.
The evaluation employed a mixed methods approach incorporating the following elements:
- Development of a program logic to inform the development of the evaluation framework and evaluation plan
- Project Establishment meeting between KBC, DHHS and MPSC to establish protocols, confirm the methodology, identify stakeholders and contacts and agree on reporting requirements
- Document and Data Review develop understanding of the detail of the program and undertake an assessment of various documents to assess their applicability and usability
- Surveys: Two surveys were conducted. The first was of food businesses across the MPSC region about their food allergen management practices. The second was a consumer survey developed to gain insight into the importance of food allergen information for consumers with allergies and/or intolerances
- Interviews were conducted to enhance understanding of the different elements of the food allergen program and how they have been implemented. Interviews were conducted with Environmental Health Officers and representatives of eight food businesses
- Information synthesis workshop was held to discuss and synthesise findings drawn from secondary data sources, qualitative and quantitative methods
- Final Report: A final report with recommendations was prepared and presented to DHHS for comment prior to finalisation.
This evaluation demonstrates our capacity to complete projects to a high standard within a limited timeframe.
The methodology employed a range of data collection methods including telephone interviews, surveys and analysis of program data. The project establishment meeting was used to clarify and frame the evaluation questions as well as identifying potential risks and challenges for the evaluation as well as strategies to mitigate these risks.
An effective working relationship was imperative to the execution of the project within the short timeframe.