In the social service sector we are currently seeing a lot of interest and focus on outcomes. Given the desire to determine ‘value for money’ and other objectives of public investment in social services, there is renewed interest in the outcomes we are achieving, at a client and program level.
An outcome is the direct, intended beneficial effect on the stakeholders or interests our work exists to serve. These can be quantified through measures, which are the tools for tracking progress toward outcomes over time.
Outcomes can be understood at three levels:
- the population level
- the program and sub-program level
- the community based organisation level
For more information, you can access a number of news articles, blogs and multimedia resources related to outcomes on Community Door.
Recently, at the Queensland Council of Social Service State Conference, Valmae Rose from QCOSS and Judith Rowell from the Queensland Government ran a workshop on ‘Outcomes in Practice’. You can listen to a podcast of the workshop, or download the presentation notes. You can also access the rest of the presentations from the QCOSS State Conference here.
The aim of the workshop was to build on the current interest in outcomes in social services - definitions, measures, evidence requirements, measurement approaches and challenges – as well as providing perspective on what is essentially a common activity and goal - determining the benefits derived by a person in contact with the social service system. During the workshop, participants identified a bank of outcomes and associated measures around various programs and populations.
Based on this work and to build some robust program outcomes for the sector, QCOSS is convening a monthly outcomes working group during 2015. Read more about this on the Community Door outcomes page.