Evidence Based Decision Making for Human Services Leaders

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare is pleased to be delivering this important course again in partnership with the Centre for Evidence Based Management, Carnegie Mellon University, and co-facilitated by Dr Lisa J. Griffiths, CEO of OzChild.

“As a CEO, undertaking this course helped me gain an understanding of contemporary concepts and evidence informed knowledge. It promoted my critical analysis skills and I found it challenging in a good way. I will go back and look at this content over and over again. The course has enabled me to quickly digest the enormous amount of information that’s presented to me, to help sift through the noise, and make good decisions faster.”

Over the past decade the responsibilities of leaders and managers in not-for-profit organisations have changed significantly: now they are often invited to take a seat at the executive table and participate in solving complex organisational problems. At the same time, most traditional models and new ‘cutting edge’ solutions often fail to deliver on what they promise. This leaves them with a profound challenge: how can we stay away from trends and quick fixes, and instead use valid and reliable evidence to support the organisation?

In response to this problem the idea of evidence-based decision-making has evolved, with the goal of improving the quality of decision-making by using critically evaluated evidence from multiple sources – organisational data, professional expertise, stakeholder values and the scientific research literature. While this sounds sensible and straightforward, gathering, understanding and using evidence is challenging in many ways and requires a set of specific skills. This executive course will develop your evidence-based skills and enhance your understanding of how an evidence-based approach can be used to support organisational decision-making.

Course Design

This advanced course uses a blended learning approach that integrates e-learning modules that can be completed online with workshops that can be attended in person. In addition, this course takes a problem-based approach: starting point are the practical issues (problems/opportunities) typically encountered by not-for-profit managers rather than the body of knowledge produced by academics. 

The specific skills this course aims to develop are: 

  1. critical thinking and reasoning; 
  2. identifying and gathering of the best available evidence; 
  3. critical appraisal of evidence; and 
  4. applying evidence of different forms to decision-making. 

In the process of developing these skills the focus will be on evidence from scientific research.

Read the course syllabus below.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Assess the extent to which claims (made by managers, leaders or consulting firms) are supported by evidence
  • Acquire, critically appraise and apply evidence from multiple sources to support organisational decision-making
  • Conduct a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) (optional)


Upon completion of the course, each participant will receive an executive education certificate from Carnegie Mellon and the Center for Evidence Based Management (CEBMa).


Date: This course will run from the 26th of April to the 13th of September.

Course workshop dates are below:

  • April 26, 2022 4:00 PM – 6:00PM
  • May 24, 2022 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • July 12, 2022 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • August 16, 2022 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • September 13, 2022 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM.
Cost: $1,800 per person, plus GST, The deadline for enrolment is the 12th April 2022.

To enrol in this course, please click here or contact Emily Mellon – Senior Manager of Learning and Business Development emily.mellon@cfecfw.asn.au

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