I have been obsessing about outcomes. In the Individual Service Fund work I am doing with Martin Walker and Wigan Council, we need to be able to identify and deliver to outcomes. I asked our Wellbeing Teams Advisor in improvement, Andy Brogan, to help me explore this. What are the issues we need to consider here? Over to Andy.

Driving a focus on outcomes has become something of a hot topic, perhaps especially in health and care services but elsewhere too. Just start looking and it’s easy to find people working on how to do Outcomes Based Commissioning (OBC) and on what it means to manage for outcomes. It’s all plausible, well intentioned stuff; after all, how could we not want good outcomes?

My impression of the folk doing this work is positive too. It’s not easy and those doing it are working earnestly and intelligently against the momentum of how things have always been done. Credit is due for being prepared to work hard for a better way.

I worry though, that focusing on outcomes is at risk of becoming a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes, finding itself beaten back into a preoccupation with changing the score when the real opportunity and need is to change the game.

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