Why do you need to align to government outcomes frameworks?

Posted on the 30th January 2019

Governments here in Australia are changing the way in which they commission services and choose providers. The focus on the delivery of outcomes for individuals and communities is now being defined and guidance for commissioning for outcomes is being rolled out across various government departments.

What is a government outcomes framework?

Outcomes Frameworks provide a way to understand and measure the extent to which government makes a long-term positive difference to people’s lives and enables them to build evidence of what works in improving wellbeing.

Why are outcomes frameworks growing in importance?

These outcomes frameworks are slowly being embedded into service contracts with measuring and reporting of outcomes becoming a contractual requirement. In the future it is highly likely that any organisation who is unable to measure outcomes will find it hard to meet government selection criteria for contracts or funding.

What government frameworks exist in Australia?

Use of Outcomes Frameworks at the Federal level is still fairly sporadic across different departments with no holistic or overarching framework to unify efforts.

At the state level New South Wales and Victoria have developed and are embedding outcomes frameworks. Western Australia is in the final consultation stages for their outcomes framework. The rest of the states and territories have not published any public facing frameworks that we are aware of and, similar to the federal government, have pockets of outcomes adoption.

The Australian Social Value Bank (ASVB) is encouraged by the publication of these outcomes frameworks which provide clarity to organisations on what outcomes they must align to and deliver outcomes for, in order to work with government. We look forward to supporting organisations in measuring their social impact and providing them with social values which align directly to these frameworks.

The ASVB will be rolling out individual guides for jurisdictions where government frameworks exist, outlining where our current social values align to the outcomes of the government frameworks.

State Focus

We will now outline where each state is currently at on their outcomes framework development activities.

New South Wales

Outcomes Framework: Yes
Outcome Indicators: Yes
Outcomes Embedded in Contracts: Yes

New South Wales (NSW) is leading the way in the use of an outcomes-based approach. NSW has developed an over-arching Human Services Outcomes Framework (HSOF). They have also developed a specific social housing framework. The homelessness framework is in the final consultation phase.

The HSOF has seven domains which are Social & Community, Education & Skills, Empowerment, Economic, Safety, Health and Home.

An outcomes indicator library has been published and provides population-level indicators for the outcome domains in the HSOF.

The embedding of outcomes into service contracts is currently underway in housing and targeted early intervention, with homelessness being the next service area to have contracts aligned with this new approach.

Read more on NSW alignment here

Victoria

Outcomes Framework: Yes
Outcome Indicators: Yes
Outcomes Embedded in Contracts: Unknown

The Victorian government outcomes framework forms part of the Department of Health and Human Services strategic plan. There is clear evidence that it has been embedded internally and they are reporting on their performance against the outcome areas. The Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework add an additional domain of “Victoria is Liveable” to the Department’s higher-level strategic plan version.

The Victorian framework has five domains which are Victorians are healthy and well, Victorians are safe and secure, Victorians have the capabilities to participate, Victorians are connected to culture and community, Victoria is liveable.

A data dictionary has been published which has over 30 data sources which are identified to monitor health and wellbeing outcomes for all Victorians and to assess inequalities for specific populations and locations. This data dictionary provides detailed technical specifications for every measure identified in the outcome’s framework.

We were unable to identify or find evidence that these outcomes are being used or considered for embedding outcomes into service contracts and funding requirements at this stage.

Western Australia

Outcomes Framework: Draft
Outcome Indicators: No
Outcomes Embedded in Contracts: No

The Western Australian government has commissioned the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) to lead the development of their outcome’s framework. The project is sponsored by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. The project currently has a draft framework and is carrying out consultation with the social sector. They aim to publish an agreed framework in June 2019.

The draft outcomes framework has six domains which are Safe, Stable, Healthy, Equipped, Connected and Empowered.

It is highly encouraging to see that the project is being driven by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and that the working group has representatives spanning all major Government departments.

South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania

Outcomes Framework Available: No
Outcome Indicators Available: No
Outcomes Embedded in Contracts: Unknown

We have been unable to find resources or information on holistic outcomes frameworks for SA, QLD, NT, ACT or TAS. We will update you if we become aware of any or if these governments start to develop them.

 

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