An Outcomes Working Group was held 30 January in Lutwyche, co-facilitated by Valmae Rose from QCOSS and Judith Rowel from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. The event was well attended, with 60 people on site and 25 people participating online and was the first of ten monthly workshops across Queensland.

While many participants welcomed the opportunity to get an overview of how outcomes would be implemented in the context of new funding agreements from July 2015 and have input to the process of defining outcome measures prior to finalization, many raised concerns that the new investment specifications did not adequately reflect their work and there had been no opportunity for community based organisations to have input earlier.  The workshop offered an opportunity to review the specifications in detail, get clarification where required, and understand the department’s intention with regard to introducing outcome measures into the contract management process.   Key messages that emerged during discussions included:

  • clients are to remain the focus and not be adversely affected by data collection
  • ensure that complex clients are captured and not disadvantaged
  • there needs to be a balance between reporting and service delivery quality
  • consider the effect on day-to-day work, and cost and time involved for implementation
  • ensure that unmet need is recognized
  • be clear on what the data is being used for and consider how it is fed back to sector
  • allow for innovation and place-based programs (avoid overly prescribing outcome)
  • make good use of existing systems and tools (many organisations have already invested in systems and tools)

A number of themes were raised around outcome measurement:

  • Consistency
    • effective outcome measurement will require consistent counting rules, definitions and tools across the sector
    • be clear on what is being measured and how
  • Data collection
    • There are benefits in using case studies/narrative as well as data
    • Be clear on who does the assessing (e.g. is it client self-assessment or worker assessment)?  Each of these relies on a level of insight/subjectivity.
    • Consider client survey and pre-test/post-testing
    • Indicators under each measure would be helpful
    • The measures can only capture what is in the control of the funded organisation

Watch a video of Judith Rowell and Valmae Rose presenting at workshop 1

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