Both nationally and internationally there is an increasing focus on services and programs demonstrating results for individuals and families, not only as a measure of accountability for public funds, but to progress social outcome commitments of government. While historically funders have tracked inputs (funds, staff, resources), outputs (number of clients and hours of service delivery) and more recently throughputs (output relative to input), expectation that services demonstrate results for the community has increased significantly.
There has been a corresponding increase in expectation from the community and treasury that funding bodies are open and transparent about the evidence base and logic behind the decisions to invest in particular services and programs.
The responsibility for defining outcomes, systematically capturing evidence of outcome, and informing decisions is a shared one.
Government, as primary funding body for community-based organisations, needs to be clear on what outcomes they are purchasing and ensure these investment decisions are based on good quality data and transparent logic.
Organisations as service providers need to ensure the outcomes they are contracted to deliver are driven by the needs of the individuals and families who use their service, are within their capacity, and aligned with their mission and value base. They need to systematically collect evidence of outcome, not only for reporting to their funding body, but to demonstrate and improve the quality of their service.
Individuals and families who use services need to ensure the services they receive match their personal needs and goals. They need to actively inform the organisation about what they need and whether what they are receiving is meeting their expectation and achieving the desired outcome.
At the first outcomes co-design working group meeting in January 2015, Valmae Rose from the Queensland Council of Social Service, and Judith Rowell from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services gave an introduction to the co-design process and the purpose of the outcomes working group.
Watch a short video of Valmae and Judith's introduction.