Judging Process

Programs and Services, Research and Evaluation, Exceptional Contribution 

TheMHS Awards program is a peer review process, based on information supplied in the written entry. The Judges’ decision is final. TheMHS Learning Network reserves the right to make changes to the number of awards in each category and/or the amount of money awarded. Prize money is contingent on funding.

For a TheMHS Award to be granted an entry will have demonstrated that each of the stated criteria has been satisfied at an appropriate level. Because each entry is judged on it’s merits from the material submitted, the awards decisions made for each category will vary. The means that there is a possibility that no award is given for a category.

Non Award level recognition.

In addition to the Award winners, Letters of Commendation can be requested by a judging panel wishing to recognise quality aspects of an entry and encourage further growth.

The Panels

A panel of 5 judges reviews each category with representatives from across Australia and New Zealand.

Each member of the panel reviews all applications in their category.

Each of the assessment panels has judges with a range of experience and backgrounds. The aim is to create panels whose members combine to give an overview of excellence in specific areas of mental health practice and lived experience.

The Process

Analysis of scores

For each category, scores from each of the judges are collated and a spreadsheet created. To help control for inter-rater variability, those entries receiving first and second places for each judge are compared as are written comments accompanying the score sheets.


A teleconference is held for each category between available judges, the awards coordinator and events coordinator. Judges’ scores for each of the criteria and related comments (written and verbal) are compared and considered during the teleconference and provisional decisions are made regarding those to be awarded or sent letters of commendation. If judges have specific questions to put to the referees before or after the teleconference, these questions are followed up by the Coordinator.

Email confirmation process

For each category, the provisional decisions are circulated by email to the judging panel for confirmation or further discussion. This is particularly important where all judges have not been available for the teleconference.


Each entry is asked to nominate 2 referees. Referees are not routinely contacted regarding award decisions made by the panel of judges. If judges specifically request clarification about the content of an entry, referees are contacted by the Awards Coordinator.


Judges score each entry according to the criteria as stated on the website and brochure. These criteria need to be addressed in the full description section of an entry.

In general, award winners will demonstrate in the application that their service is consistent with the national policies and plans of Australia or New Zealand, within the constraints of resources available.

Conflict of Interest in the Judging Process

A conflict of interest may arise where a judge or other person concerned with the Awards Program finds that he or she has been involved in the development or implementation of a Service or program that is entered for an Award e.g. as an unpaid advisor, as a staff member, as a paid consultant, as a referee, as a recipient of the service.

It is the responsibility of a panel judge to notify TheMHS Award committee as soon as possible if he/she becomes aware of a conflict of interest in judging a particular entry in the Awards Competition.

A ‘conflicted’ judge may not mark the relevant entry but may continue to mark the other entries in the category.

A ‘conflicted’ judge should refrain and excuse him/herself from any discussion or decision making in relation to the entry.

The usual action taken by the Awards Committee is that another judge (often a member of the Awards Committee), will rate the relevant entry.

Where a TheMHS Award Committee member has a conflict of interest he or she will not in any way be associated with the management of the relevant Award Category for that year.

Expressions of Interest