5. Results based accountability in human services. What it is. What it isn’t. What’s needed with it.
Results based accountability (RBA)** in human services is a systematic
way of thinking things through to take action to improve programs,
agencies and service systems to help make people better off and/or
to improve the quality of life in communities, cities, states and nations.
Some of the key questions in that process of thinking things through to act at the level of communities, cities and states and nations are:
Some of the key questions in the process of thinking things through to act at the level of programs, agencies and service systems are:
RBA is a systematic way of thinking things through to take action. So at its best it will:
RBA is not a theory of change - people using RBA need useful theories of change in the process of working out what works in what contexts to produce what results.
RBA is not a substitute for evaluation - RBA could be one element of a program’s or agency’s evaluation processes.
RBA is not a substitute for research - to use RBA effectively people will need the knowledge from the relevant research and evidence about their programs and interventions.
RBA is not a way of measuring program results; it is not a measurement system - the data doesn’t provide the answers; RBA doesn’t have a way of attributing results to programs; RBA it is a way of gathering data to help ask good questions about how to improve programs.
RBA is not a program funding tool - it is a way of thinking, reflecting
and dialoguing for improved action.
Good practice in human services = Thinking things through with Results Based Accountability + Theory of change + Evaluation and other quality improvement processes + Research + Being holistic + Not bureaucratising the process.
4 April 2007