Young people’s participation in service evaluation


  • Michael Gaffney Independent researcher and evaluator based in Dunedin. Previously spent 15 years at the Children’s Issues Centre at the University of Otago.
  • Jenny Munro
  • Ben Inns Member of the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Damian Morgan-Hudson Member of the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Kymberley Kennedy Member of the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Lisa Nyman Member of the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Marina Buckley Member of the Youth Advisory Group.



otago youth wellness trust, youth advisory group, service evaluation,


The Otago Youth Wellness Trust is a charitable organisation that has been operating for 15 years in Dunedin, New Zealand. It decided to evaluate the wraparound service it provided to young people in the community. The young people are referred by other agencies, including schools, and are usually deemed to be in need of significant support. In this article, members of a Youth Advisory Group (YAG), describe the experience of being involved in this service evaluation project. The YAG was made up of a small number of ‘service users’ who developed methods for engaging young people as evaluation participants. Overall we reported positive experiences, but there was a steep learning curve for all of us to navigate the evaluation process. This article demonstrates that it is possible for young people to have a significant influence in service evaluation.

Author Biography

Jenny Munro

Senior Practitioner at the Otago Youth Wellness Trust, Dunedin.


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How to Cite

Gaffney, M., Munro, J., Inns, B., Morgan-Hudson, D., Kennedy, K., Nyman, L., & Buckley, M. (2016). Young people’s participation in service evaluation. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 25(4), 62–70.