Queensland Mental Health Commission


About this project

An exciting new approach to more truly co-designed services is underway in Queensland. The Stretch2Engage Framework aims to build organisational capacity to better engage with people who use services, and their families and supporters, in the design, evaluation and improvement of programs and services.

Rethinking service engagement in mental health and AOD

The Framework was developed through extensive consultation and represents a substantial progression from standard consumer participation models. Stretch2Engage places the responsibility for engagement clearly with organisations, rather than with people who use their services.

During 2019 the Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) oversaw a pilot of the Stretch2Engage Framework in seven organisations across diverse settings including clinical and community based mental health, and alcohol and other drug services. The Stretch2Engage Pilot asked – What would it take to better include and empower service users in design, delivery and evaluation of the services they use? This is a challenging question: it asks organisations to create new ways of meaningfully engaging service users, and then make important cultural and process changes to embed this, sharing power for these decisions with service users.


Using a developmental evaluation approach and action research methods, Lirata led the evaluation of the pilot, working closely with QMHC, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies, Enlightened Consultants, and the seven pilot organisations throughout the project. A variety of methods were used including surveys, interviews and focus groups, collection of Significant Change Stories, and cross organisation workshops. Analysis compared pilot sites at baseline and follow up across six key evaluation domains. The evaluation included a strong economic as well as outcomes component.


The evaluation demonstrated important early successes for participating pilot organisations. We identified increased engagement opportunities and other organisational capacity building developments, including cultural, practice and process changes. The Framework has the potential for wide use across the health, community services and education sectors.

The pilot and evaluation have provided impetus for further embedding of the Stretch2Engage Framework. The Theory of Change and sector evaluation toolkit which Lirata developed during the project will also be valuable to guide and monitor future implementation.

The Framework has the potential for wide use across the health, community services and education sectors.

Further information

Download Stretch2Engage Theory of Change (detailed version)

Download Full Evaluation Report

Download Summary Evaluation Report

Download Evaluation Infographic

For more information about Stretch2Engage, visit QMHC's website: www.qmhc.qld.gov.au/engage-enable/lived-experience-led-reform/stretch2engage

Specialist focus




Mental health
Alcohol and other drug

Project Partners

Belmont Private Hospital
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service
Metro South Hospital and Health Service
Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN)
Sunrise Way
Toowoomba Clubhouse
Enlightened Consultants
Queensland Alliance for Mental Health
Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies

Project team

Project Lead

More projects in this area