July 22, 2016

Media release: report reveals outcomes measurement better than ever in WA

Bankwest Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia will publicly release the findings of its latest report in the five-year research program Supporting Development and Growth in the Community Sector in Western Australia today. The fifth issue in the series is The Practice, Prevalence & Funding of Outcomes Measurement in the Community Sector, and it is the largest study into outcomes measurement ever undertaken of the Australian charities sector.

This is Australia’s first large scale study into the measurement of impact of community sector charities and aims increase our understanding of the difference community programs make to the lives of Western Australians and what factors enhance the resilience and long-term financial viability of Western Australia’s emerging social enterprise sector.

The report reveals organisations are measuring outcomes better than ever before with significant opportunities for funding identified.

Key findings of the study by Professor Paul Flatau and co-authors at the Centre for Social Impact reveal that while most community sector organisations believe that they understand and measure their outcomes well, there is consensus that more needs to be known of the overall impact of the community sector on Western Australia’s social outcomes.

“This new research highlights the importance of us taking a systemic approach to investing in outcome measurement systems. Both so that we get good value for money from the investment going into measurement now across individual organisations and so that we can derive meaningful insights from joining up the outcome measures at population levels.” said Ms Irina Cattalini CEO, WACOSS.

“We found that the majority of community sector organisations have significantly increased their focus and effort on outcomes measurement in the last five years which is one of the most positive signals yet that the sector is undergoing a cultural shift towards measuring impact,” said Professor Paul Flatau, Director CSI UWA.

“The mission of community sector charities is to make a difference and measurement allows community sector charities to know whether they are positively impacting the lives of Western Australians. The report found that the principle driver to increased measurement in the community sector was an organisation’s own drive to achieve a positive social impact for people.”

“We found that while larger organisations are now measuring their outcomes and are generally more equipped to focus on outcomes measurement, small organisations that are measuring their impact are doing so with equal intensity. However, across the board, specific funding for outcomes measurement is still lacking and there’s real opportunity here.”

"At Anglicare WA a focus on outcomes or results for our clients is a key part of us moving forward. We use Results Based Accountability ( RBA) as a core of this work and we reflect on these results as we look at ensuring that we provide the best services we can for our clients across WA ", said Mr Ian Carter, CEO, Anglicare WA.

Professor Paul Flatau will be discussing the findings at the Social Impact Festival in Perth.

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