Publication Date



Objective: To identify enabler and barrier mechanisms that impact project implementation, from a review of 127 completed projects intended to reduce harms associated with problematic alcohol and licit drug use in Australia. Design: Data comprised archival material (proposals, reports). A coding framework was developed from the literature and a sample of projects; two researchers developed and refined the framework. Open coding was used to identify factors impacting implementation, followed by pattern coding to identify underlying mechanisms. Sample: Project categories were developed from funding orientation and main activities projects were: enhancing organizational systems and processes (39), training and workforce development (18), community education and prevention (37) and client engagement and treatment (33). Thirty-five projects (28%) were in non-capital city locations. Results: Nine enabler and ten barrier mechanisms were identified, for example, ‘project planning and design’ and ‘wider service system challenges’. Three enabler mechanisms were more likely to be identified for non-capital city projects; ‘external communication and relationships’ (83% vs 70%), ‘sensitivity to service users and settings’ (49% vs 40%) and ‘funding and resourcing’ (40% vs 35%). Most barrier mechanisms were identified for a higher proportion of non-capital city projects, particularly ‘identifying and retaining personnel’ (54% vs 34%), ‘engaging communities and partners’ (46% vs 26%) and ‘organizational governance and capacity’ (29% vs 5%). Conclusions: Project implementation in non-capital city locations requires particular attention to project planning and design, staffing and organizational well-being. Policy initiatives and planning proposals might consider enabler mechanisms along with strategies to minimize barrier mechanisms to support successful implementation.


Centre for Health and Social Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.