Outcome-focused approaches

The primary purpose and value of outcome-focused approaches for any organisation engaged in activities to improve health and address health inequalities is to help them to think about and get a clearer understanding of the difference and contribution their activities will make.

Why are outcome-focused approaches important for community and voluntary sector organisations?

Outcome-focused approaches can:

  • aid planning
  • increase the likelihood that activities will achieve the intended outcomes (by “starting out with the end in mind”)
  • encourage people to think about outcomes rather than outputs and consider the difference actions and activities can make in people´s lives – putting community members at the heart of health improvement planning
  • aid and enable evaluation, learning and measurement of the effectiveness of an organisation’s input, by clarifying the contribution their organisation will make regarding the target issue.
  • help organisations demonstrate their contribution and to ‘speak the same language’ of achieving outcomes.

Demonstrating and articulating the outcomes of health improvement approaches and activities generally has become important as we have moved towards evidence-informed decision-making due to increasing competition for resources.

The community planning partnership context of Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs) requires priority activities to demonstrate the contribution they make to the agreed local outcomes. This applies to activities undertaken by organisations in the NHS, Local Authorities and community and voluntary (Third Sector) organisations.

Not all community and voluntary organisations are directly funded by Community Planning partners. However, as well as seeking evidence of partnership-working, independent funding bodies may now also seek information about where projects / initiatives fit into the wider landscape of activities undertaken within that locality.

Reviewed 29 July 2014

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