What is it?
Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) is a disciplined way of thinking and taking action that communities can use to improve the lives of children, families and the community. OBA can also be used by agencies to improve the performance of their programmes.
How does it work?
OBA starts with the ends and works backwards, step by step, to means. For communities, the ends are the conditions of wellbeing for children, families or the community. For example ‘support people to live safely in their own homes’ or ‘improve attendance, behaviour and achievement.’ They can even be more specific conditions such as ‘help protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco.’ For programmes, the ends are how customers are better off when the programme works the way it should. For example, what percentage of people in a smoking cessation service are still smoke free 12 months after exiting the service.
How can it help?
OBA is a process that gets partners from talking about action to actually doing some action! It uses plain language and common sense methods that everyone can understand. The most basic OBA exercise can be done in an hour and produces new ideas that can be used immediately. OBA is an inclusive process where diversity is an asset and everyone in the community can contribute.
What is the process?
First you will need to bring together a group of partners who wish to make things better. This group then answers the following questions together:
- What are the quality of life conditions wanted for the community and the people who live there?
- What would those conditions look like if we could see, feel and experience them?
- How can we measure if these conditions exist or not? These measures will be your indicators. Are the measures getting better or worse? Where are we headed if we just keep on doing the same thing?
- Why are these conditions getting better or worse?
- Who are the partners that have a potential role to play in doing better?
- What works to do better? What can we do that is new? What can we do that is a low cost or no cost idea? What idea is a bit off the wall but could work?
- What will we do individually, and what will we do as a group?
Common language – some definitions
Outcomes – conditions of wellbeing for children, families and the community as a whole.
Indicators – a data measure which demonstrates if an outcome is being achieved or not.
Baseline – the data that shows us where we’ve been and where we’re headed in terms of our outcomes
Performance measures – indications as to whether individual programmes or services are working. There are three common sense performance measures:
- How much did we do?
- How well did we do it?
- Is anyone better off as a result?
Where can you get more information: