Outcome based accountability

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve gone up a gear working towards an LSP-focussed event in July. I’ve found it difficult to find a good label to explain what we’re trying to do. It’s something like

If it’s so important that LDFs and SCSs are in sync, shouldn’t we do something about the fact that SCSs are usually dreadful? (LDFs are also dreadful, but in ways that we are already doing something about)

PINS have been making some very sensible noises over the last year about ‘deliverability’ – in other words ensuring that someone has actually planned the plan properly. There is no point going to all the time and expense of a bold regeneration scheme if it relies on infrastructure that doesn’t exist and has no reasonable prospect of being created.
Why isn’t there a similar challenge in the SCS environment ? It seems that the plans haven’t really graduated from the well-meaning but ultimately anodyne council plan wishing everyone well but not wanting to get too many hands dirty in the process.

Outcome based accountability

One step on the path to having a robust and meaningful plan is a clear picture of what we’re trying to make happen. Outcome-based accountability (OBA) is one useful tool I use to maintain some sense of perspective. Attached is a short presentation I gave to the team last week – most of the content is drawn from the horribly designed but very useful website where it is made refreshingly available foc.


There are many other sources of useful information, including some useful perspectives on implementing these ideas from the IDeA themselves.

Why is it a good thing ?

I struggled at first to explain why it chimed so well with me. I suspect that it helps if your brain is wired a certain way. One symptom is that usually when  I actually read SCSs they always make me want to go and lie down. When thinking through the “big picture” of the SCS (and particularly how it might ‘get off the page’) I now value simplicity above all other things, and OBA allows me to divide the world into three types of thing. Chances are, if its not

  • an outcome “children to be healthy”
  • an indicator (of progress towards the realisation of the outcome) “percentage of children obese”
  • a performance measure (of the effectiveness of intervention) “proportion of children active 12 months after school-based programme”

… then it’s nonsense, and should be ignored. I commend OBA to you as a way of boiling things down, or peeling away the fluff.


2 thoughts on “Outcome based accountability

  1. Pingback: LSP event « Planning Advisory Service

  2. Pingback: Online self assessment (or not) « Planning Advisory Service

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