Terms of reference - Efficiency and effectiveness review

1. Background

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program (the Program) was first established in 2001 in response to the discovery of Solenopsis invicta1 (commonly known as red imported fire ant or fire ant) in western Brisbane and Fishermans Island.

An independent review in 2016 and 2017 found that the implementation of the Program has prevented the widespread environmental, social, health and economic impacts seen in other countries where fire ants have invaded. Based on the review recommendations, funding of $411.4 million over ten years was approved and a Ten Year Eradication Plan 2017–18 to 2026–27 (PDF, 2.2MB) (Ten Year Plan) was developed which outlines the Program’s objectives and high-level strategy, actions and milestones.

Section 7.3.2 of the Ten Year Plan stipulates that an efficiency evaluation of the Program will be scheduled every two years, or as required by the Steering Committee. The intent was that an external consultant or similar would provide feedback to the Steering Committee and Program in regards to whether the approved Ten Year Plan is being implemented correctly. The efficiency audit is intended to provide evidence and assurance to the cost-share parties that the Program is being conducted in an effective and efficient manner and delivering value for money to the parties contributing to the cost-sharing.

An internal review of the Ten Year Plan was undertaken from January to March 2019 and an Addendum to the Ten Year Plan has been drafted outlining the outcomes and required amendments to the plan.

2. Terms of reference

The review will evaluate Program efficiency and effectiveness, and whether implementation of the plan using current methods and approach are meeting targets to achieve the Program’s objectives, including:

  • evaluate whether activities detailed in the Ten Year Plan and annual Work Plans are being implemented as described and basis for any changes that have occurred to the plans
  • assess whether the activities of the Program are conducted in an effective and efficient manner including the cost-effectiveness of the Program
  • assess whether more cost-effective resource deployment options exist and identify opportunities for efficiencies
  • recommend actions to improve Program delivery and/or the Ten Year Plan where necessary to meet Program objectives
  • prepare and present a report on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Program since 1 July 2017.

Review of the Program’s procurement function and governance arrangements are not required as a part of this review. However, recommendations made from the recent procurement and governance audits undertaken for the Program should be considered.

Program activities which are detailed in the Ten Year Plan and annual Work Plans include (but are not limited to):

  • treatment, surveillance and monitoring activities
  • prevention of human assisted movement
  • community and stakeholder engagement
  • science approach and methods including basis for Program protocols
  • systems, processes and support functions
  • budget and resourcing requirements
  • governance
  • targets and timeframes for achievement of eradication.

In making recommendations, the review will consider:

  • the Program’s quarterly and annual reports since 1 July 2017
  • the Program’s Ten Year Plan (PDF, 2.2MB), Addendum and annual work plans (PDF, 1.4MB) since 1 July 2017
  • Steering Committee minutes and reports
  • relevant previous reviews and audits of the Program including the procurement and governance audits undertaken during 2018-19 and the Independent Review undertaken 2016–2017
  • feedback from Steering Committee members on its operations and the review of the Steering Committee operations and terms of reference undertaken in early 2019
  • consultation with Program staff, stakeholders and Steering Committee members and other cost-share partners not represented on the committee
  • actions in the plans, including observation of current operations in and off the field
  • current and proposed technologies and methods and their effectiveness and efficacy in delivering Program outcomes
  • the risks to the Program achieving its objectives as outlined in the Program’s Risk Management Plan and Risk Register (however, noting that a Risk Management Sub-Committee is in place to monitor Program risks)
  • the Annual Community and Industry Stakeholder meeting in August 2019.

3. Timeframes

It is estimated that the review will take approximately 20–25 consultancy days from commencement date to complete.

4. Cost

Final cost of the review is dependent on the consultant appointed. Funding for the review will be provided by the Program.

1Buren, WF 1972, 'Revisionary studies on the taxonomy of the imported fire ants', Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society, vol. 7,pp. 1–26.