Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Tool (MERIT)

The online monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement tool (MERIT) is now available for grant recipients to start reporting. MERIT has been developed for the project and programme reporting requirements of Australian Government NRM programmes.

MERIT allows grant recipients to record and upload data about the progress of their projects on a continual basis and to submit reports online. It will also increase information sharing within NRM communities and the broader public.

Developed in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia, MERIT will enhance the reporting process by allowing simpler yet more complete project records and showing direct links between project activities and contributions to Australia’s biodiversity conservation work.

We are committed to the ongoing development and improvement of this system and value your input as a user to its future design and operation. Please provide feedback on the system to MERIT@environment.gov.au or call 1800 552 008.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

MERIT users guides are now available at http://www.nrm.gov.au/funding/merit/user-guides.html.
Please check the guides and FAQ's. Important information regarding the upload of shape files for projects (see News items).
New features and fixes were deployed on 11/3/14. See 'About' for details.

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Developed in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia, MERIT will enhance the reporting process by allowing simpler yet more complete project records and showing direct links between project activities and contributions to Australia’s biodiversity conservation work.

MERIT Objectives
In future MERIT will deliver:
• Clear rules around the collection and collation of NRM related data and information;
• an online system that has an improved capacity to capture, store and communicate results from NRM investments; and
• the capacity for public analysis of data collected through Australian Government funded NRM programmes.

Past Reporting
Australian Government NRM project reporting was previously done on paper based reporting forms. This often caused variation in reporting between NRM projects and programs. In turn this made it difficult to collate information to tell a whole-of-program story about the impact of NRM investments.

Current Status
Since the introduction of MERIT the Australia Government has moved a large proportion of its NRM investment reporting to a web based format. This marks the start of a transition to collecting standardised NRM information across Australia, and enabling data to be rolled up to tell program and cross-program stories about NRM investments.

While MERIT is currently output focussed which allows for some conclusions to be drawn on NRM investments, it also allows for the measurement of environmental outcomes through the numerous “assessment” forms (vegetation, water quality and so on) and provides a space for grant recipients to describe project stories in their own words. The focus on outcomes will increase as MERIT matures.

Next Steps
There is much more work to be done to achieve the objectives of MERIT. Upcoming additions include:
• Improvements in the useability of MERIT;
• MERIT dashboard which will cover all projects within MERIT;
• The “missing” project MERI plan fields; and
• Android and Apple “apps” for mobile devices.

For more information, please see the “Help” section which includes FAQs.

The MERIT Schema and API

For those interested in the technical details behind the MERIT application, particularly those wishing to interoperate their local systems with MERIT, the schema and API documentation can be found at http://ecodata-test.ala.org.au/documentation/index.