Judging Process

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.

For a TheMHS Award to be granted, an entry will satisfy each of the stated criteria at an appropriate level. Since each entry is judged on the material submitted, the awards decisions made for each category will vary. Therefore, there is a possibility that no award is granted 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

Each year approximately 50 – 60 applications are received for the Service Awards, Research Awards and Outstanding Contribution Awards and approximately 40 applications are received for the Media Awards. Review panels are convened for each of the categories.

The Awards panels, comprised of five judges, include a broad spectrum of professional, discipline and service backgrounds, including consumers and carers, from across Australia and New Zealand.

TheMHS Awards Judging Panels are responsible for reviewing all award submissions and deciding on the winners in collaboration with the Awards Coordinator.

The Service and Program Award Judging Panels are made up of representatives from across a wide range of Mental Health related fields including consumer workers, academics and researchers, psychiatrists, program coordinators and health workers, to name a few.

The Media Awards Judging Panels are comprised of a mix of communication and media professionals, and mental health experts.

In general the assessors will be looking to give awards to those services that are striving to achieve the national policies and plans of Australia and New Zealand respectively, within the constraints of resources available.

Service and Program Judges

Jenny Cardno
Judi Clements
Ann Dadich
Barbara Disley
Lynne Dunbar
Ellie Fossey
Roger Gurr
Julia Hennessy
Douglas Holmes
Robyn Humphries
Peter McGeorge

Julie Millard
Noel Muller
Liz Newton
Fiona Orr
Warwick Smith
Mark Smith
Michael Smith
Andrea Taylor
Barbara Tooth
Janet Watterson
Ann White

Media Judges

Marc Bryant
Catharine Campbell
Jennifer Howard
Alexandra Kellar
Lynne Malcolm
Ellen Sproule

The Process

Analysis of scores

For each category, scores from individual 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 attended by the judging panel, the awards coordinator and the event coordinator is held for each category of award. Judges’ scores for each of the criteria and related comments (written and verbal) are compared and considered during the teleconference. It is during this part of the process that 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 any judges were not available for the teleconference.


Entries are 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 (for specific criteria please see the webpage for the relevant category). These criteria need to be addressed in the full description section (“Part B”) 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 they become 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 will refrain and excuse themselves 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, that individual will not in any way be associated with the management of the relevant Award Category for that year.