CLiQS Clinical Leadership in Quality and Safety Program Evaluation


The CLiQS program was developed by La Trobe University and the Australasian College of Health Services Management with funding from the Victorian Department of Health. The objective of the program was to equip current and potential clinical leaders with the knowledge, skills and competencies required to successfully lead the healthcare quality and safety agenda, incorporating both an organisational and system-wide perspective. Participants included 60 medical, nursing, and allied health professionals working in metropolitan, rural and regional acute, community health, long-term care, and primary care settings in Victoria.


Anne Smyth was commissioned at the beginning of the project to undertake an independent evaluation of the program. Anne led the collaborative development of the evaluation strategy and design. She undertook the data gathering, analysis and reporting of findings and worked with the program team, to develop the subsequent recommendations.

Formative and summative evaluation was conducted over the two program cohorts in 2012 and 2013, comprising a longitudinal pre-post design using quantitative and qualitative methods. The methods included pre and post surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation of program workshops and desk research. The data was analysed by using appropriate statistical tests for the quantitative data and thematic categorisation for the qualitative data.

The evaluation sought to identify outcomes and impact for the participants involved, regarding knowledge and skill acquisition, the impact of the work-based quality improvement projects they undertook and the assessment of their organisational sponsors as to the organisational impact of their work.

The evaluation findings were reported in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health - Sandra G. Leggat, Anne Smyth, Cathy Balding, Iain McAlpine, 2016, Equipping clinical leaders for system and service improvements in quality and safety: an Australian experience, Vol 40, No 2.

Outcomes and insights

This program was regarded by the clinicians who participated and their organisational sponsors as exceptionally valuable. They viewed it as making a significant difference by strengthening their knowledge and skill in the field of quality and safety, leadership and change management. The program took them out of their clinical silos and opened their eyes to the organisational and broader system context in which they operate. Importantly it equipped them with many of the skills needed to effectively navigate complex environment in which they worked and enabled them to lead and manage change.

Our approach to the evaluation reinforced the value of collaborative design and implementation and the importance of working to an overarching strategy from the outset rather than as an add on at the end. It demonstrated that it is possible to undertake well designed, rigorous, and credible evaluations that are fit for purpose and work with organisational timeframes. The evaluation generated practical, recommendations that were both useful and contributed to the evidence base of what leadership development interventions work and why.