October 1, 2015

Making a difference in the lives of Western Australians

Outcomes measurement at a tipping point in Western Australia

Measuring the difference we make to the lives of disadvantaged people is as important to Western Australians as it’s ever been – with a recent study revealing outcomes measurement is at a tipping point in this state.

The latest study, the third in the Bankwest Foundation Social Impact Series, explores the experiences of community organisations and their funders in their shift to a greater focus on outcomes, developing the evidence base to drive social change. 

Community organisations and funders are also moving towards more strategic use of the results from outcomes measurement and connecting measurement with strategy and performance improvement. 

Contributing to the panel discussion at the report launch was Annie Fogarty AM, Executive Chairperson of the Fogarty Foundation who provided her insights as a leading community funder. 

“We evaluate all of our programs on their outcomes, impact and their ripple effect and we encourage the people we support to use evidence- based decision making so they also can effectively evaluate their work,” Ms Fogarty said.

Chris Hall, CEO of Mercycare, said that implementing a systematic and effective outcomes measurement process allows them to determine how their service delivery impacts on the lives of people in the community. 

“We need to determine appropriate measures by listening carefully to our service users and the community to understand their needs and expectations – these results must then be used to inform our business priorities and strategies for improvement,” Mr Hall said. 

This is particularly important in WA, as recent reform to the WA Government’s procurement processes has placed outcomes measurement firmly on the agenda for all WA departments, agencies and organisations they work with. 

At the report launch, Tom Leeming, Executive Director, Community and Human Services in the WA Department of Premier and Cabinet spoke of the State Government’s Delivering Community Services in Partnership Policy.

“The State Government is shifting its focus on contracting from micro-managing inputs and outputs to contracting on the basis of outcomes jointly defined by the community and public sectors - but implementation of this change is a work in progress and much has been learned along the way,” Mr Leeming said. 

The report titled Measuring the difference we make: The state-of-play of outcomes measurement in the community sector of WA is the third in the Social Impact Series, which was launched earlier this year as part of a five-year research program made possible by the partnership between the Bankwest Foundation and UWA Centre for Social Impact (UWA CSI).

Director of CSI at The University of Western Australia, Professor Paul Flatau, said that this report confirms what the Centre for Social Impact has been saying for years regarding outcomes measurement.

“Outcomes measurement is critical to not only achieving social impact, but ensuring the long term survival of our community organisations and it’s particularly heartening to see such broad scale adoption of this thinking in WA.”

The report was launched at an event this morning which was attended by key public policy decision makers, community organisations, community funders and business supporters.

We look forward to the first major Australian survey on outcomes measurement in the community sector, which will be conducted as part of the current research program. 

The Bankwest Foundation was established in 2013 with a mission to improve the well-being of Australians by enabling the implementation of significant and meaningful community initiatives in Western Australia and nationally.

For more information contact:

Nicola HanniganCentre for Social Impact, Media & Communications - (02) 8936 0915 / 0407075307

Sarah HoppsBankwest Senior Manager, Media & Communications - (08) 9369 8259 / 0416 526 421

 

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