The state-of-play of outcomes measurement in the community sector in Western Australia
The term ‘outcomes measurement’ refers to the measurement of the difference that an initiative, program or organisation makes to the lives of people they engage with. Outcomes measurement provides evidence on whether initiatives, programs and organisations are making a difference to the lives of people they serve. It is an important basis of learning within organisations of what works and what doesn’t work. Outcomes measurement also provides the foundation stone for evaluation, strategic planning and good governance, and is critical to good decision-making in respect of the appropriate allocation of resources by funders.
This report extends our previous Bankwest Foundation research and investigates the experiences of on-the-ground community organisations, government and philanthropic funders of community service organisations, and community sector peak bodies with outcomes measurement in Western Australia. This is particularly important in Western Australia as recent regulatory reform has placed outcomes measurement firmly on the agenda for all Western Australia departments, agencies and the organisations they work with.
This study finds outcomes measurement at a tipping point in Western Australia. Our mapping of outcomes measurement in Western Australia and consultations with community sector stakeholders in Western Australia suggest not simply a growing interest in outcomes measurement and a broad appetite for progress and change, but that community sector organisations, big and small, as well as funders, are implementing or seeking to implement a systematic, well-grounded outcomes measurement framework in their organisations and through their funding programs. Community organisations and the funders of programs are also moving towards more strategic use of the outputs of outcomes measurement and connecting measurement with strategy and performance improvement.