A revolution in governance is underway. The methods politicians and civil servants use to examine public policy are modernising – as are practices in both the private- and third-sectors. More and more legislatures, businesses and charities are embracing an “outcomes-based approach”, where measurement of success is focused on the results achieved; the ability to gauge that success is fundamentally built in to processes. Outcomes-based working brings significant and proven benefits to organisations across all sectors, as well as public authorities.
These changes have already begun in earnest north of the border. After hearing about successes around the world – including in the USA, Finland and Scotland – Stormont has gone all in. Its Programme for Government for the mandate that began in May 2016 has been entirely constructed with a focus on outcomes. For anyone working with statutory organisations in Northern Ireland (either directly, or through partnerships with Irish agencies), knowledge of this process is now essential.
Elsewhere, this growing phenomenon shows no signs of slowing. Any business interested in getting ahead of competition or social enterprise who wants to be at the sharp end of best practice will reap massive dividends from these new models. The increase in objectivity that stems from this way of working could also be of particular benefit to anyone working within, or in partnership with, a coalition government – particularly a minority coalition – where the ability to justify ideas and proposals on that objective basis provides momentum for decisions that can be difficult to bring into effect. The dramatic changes necessary can be daunting for any organisation – especially if they have limited experience in outcomes-based working.
This October will see a global summit on this exciting new area coming to Belfast. Pioneers within the outcomes movement will join those who have enjoyed the huge, practical benefits (from the state, private and third sectors) to share their experiences and expertise, providing a significant boost to any organisation that attends.
Outcomes & Impact will explore cutting-edge techniques for governments, businesses and charities, and will take place at the Waterfront Hall on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 October.
Speakers include Mark Friedman, Director of the Fiscal Studies Policy Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose book Trying Hard Is Not Good Enough is the defining text of outcomes-based working, and whose Outcomes-Based Accountability (OBA) model is at the centre of the summit. When the Northern Ireland Assembly First and deputy First Minister launched their Programme for Government framework earlier this year – itself built around OBA – Mr Friedman was explicitly praised for his vision and the brilliance of this new way of working.
Other speakers include Andrew Kleine, an award-winning public servant who previously worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget and currently is Budget Director for the City of Baltimore in Maryland, USA; Diana Urban, a state representative from Connecticut; and Michael McAfee, Vice President for Programs at PolicyLink, an organisation that is transforming opportunities for young people across America.
Outcomes and Impact is being run locally by the National Children’s Bureau in Northern Ireland, which has seen enormous improvements in its own work in recent years, thanks to OBA.
Celine McStravick, NCB NI Director, said: “Across the globe governments and other organisations spend and sometimes waste billions on projects without measuring the impacts they have on the problems they are trying to solve. This simple but revolutionary approach solves that problem to the benefit of the economy and society.
“Some of Northern Ireland’s new super councils and government departments are already using this approach, becoming more efficient and measuring the impact of their investment. This is an unprecedented opportunity to galvanise our learning, and ensure we make the most of ever decreasing resources.”
Government leaders, NGOs, professionals and community activists from around the world are coming to Belfast to discuss how this new and proven method for getting results is changing approaches to social change.
Organisations from across Ireland, regardless of their sector or the type of work they do, should join them at the cutting edge of modern best practice. Booking and further information is available at outcomesandimpact.com
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