Outcome Based Accountability™

Outcome Based Accountability™ (known as “Results Based Accountability™ outside of England and Northern Ireland) was first developed in the early 1990s by Mark Friedman and is now used extensively across the United States and increasingly in other countries across the world including Australia, China, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK. The framework was informed by Mark’s 19 years’ experience in public administration and public policy including six years as Chief Financial Officer for the Maryland Department of Human Resources and is described in detail in his book “Trying Hard is Not Good Enough”

Outcome Based Accountability™ (OBA) is a disciplined way of thinking and taking action that service planners and communities can use to design and monitor strategies to improve the lives of children, families and communities and as the basis for commissioning and improving the performance of projects, programmes and services. Uniquely, OBA makes a clear distinction between accountability to partners and stakeholders for strategies to improve quality of life for whole populations, and the accountability of service providers and commissioners for the impact of individual services and interventions on their client populations, effectively separating means from ends.

The OBA planning process starts at the whole population level, defining the desired population conditions of well-being (outcomes) for all people in a given population and works through to actions in an intuitive and logical seven stage process (the ‘Turning the Curve ‘process). It uses data and baselines to chart progress against outcomes, and as a stark contrast to crude target setting processes, measures improvement as distance travelled or “Curves Turned”.

OBA establishes a common, jargon free language to enable partner organisations and stakeholders to communicate more effectively thereby maximising community engagement and partner added value. The “Turning the Curve” process moves groups from talk to action and by establishing appropriate accountability, aims to break the often endless “All Talk and No Action” cycles of meetings that often characterise this work.

The performance management element of OBA measures the effectiveness of services and interventions and the impact on their client or service-user populations by choosing measures as answers to three questions: How much did we do? How well did we do it? Is anyone any better off? The focus is on “Better Off” measures or service user outcomes and provides a simple yet robust framework for commissioning and managing performance.

“David is a terrific teacher and consultant. He’s one of the foremost OBA trainers coaching Outcomes Based Accountability™ in the world. You won’t be disappointed working with him.”
Mark Freidman, Fiscal Policy Studies Institute, New Mexico, USA

Further information about Outcome Based Accountability™

Acknowledgements and Copyright The content in the Outcome Based Accountability™ Pages is based on the work of Mark Freidman who retains the original copyright. The material is presented with his formal approval.

The OBA framework is free for use by government and non-profit/NGO organisations. Limited permission is granted to government and non-profit organizations to use materials from the raguide.org and resultsaccountability.com websites. Such organisations may copy, distribute and use this material, providing it is done with full attribution and in the interest of improving the well-being of children, adults, families and communities.

Materials may not be used for profit-making purposes without the written consent of the Fiscal Policy Studies Institute Inc. For purposes of this notice, profit making organisations include non-profit organisations that provide, and charge fees for, consulting services. Licensing fees and other requirements for use of OBA materials by for-profit organisations are managed by Clear Impact and details can be found on their website here.

Where there is any conflict between this notice and the website provisions, the website provisions take precedence. Small for-profit organisations (as defined on the web page)are not subject to licensing fees. Such organisations may get formal permission for free use of RBA material by sending an email request to markatfpsi@gmail.com


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