(Including Population Accountability; Performance Accountability; Outcome; Outcome Indicator; Performance Measure; Turning the Curve)

    In Newcastle, we have chosen to adopt Outcome Based Accountability™ (OBA) as a framework for planning, performance and accountability.  This framework was originally developed by Mark Friedman, Fiscal Policy Studies Institute, Sante Fe, New Mexico.  It is known in the USA as Results Based Accountability.  In the UK, David Burnby provides training and consultancy using OBA.  His website includes further material that may be of interest.

    As with all frameworks, OBA defines terminology in a particular way – it also warns against ill-disciplined use of language.

    Key explanations follow:


    Population Accountability is about the wellbeing of whole populations, such as all people in Newcastle; all adults with a learning disability; or all older people in Byker.


    Outcomes are particular conditions of wellbeing for these whole populations.  The Outcomes we want for adults in Newcastle are included in the Our Work section.  We can only achieve these outcomes through effective partnership working.  No one organisation is responsible for achieving these outcomes on their own.


    Outcome Indicators are the measures we use to help quantify the achievement of an Outcome.  They give us insight into how well we are doing.  We increasingly use Outcome Indicators as part of our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.


    Performance Accountability is about the wellbeing of a client population i.e. the individuals served by a specified service, project or programme.  This is the means by which individual services make a contribution to the population level Outcomes.


    Performance Measures are used to evaluate how well a service, project or programme is working.  They are designed around asking three questions:

    • How much did we do?  For example number of clients served
    • How well did we do it?  For example the percentage of clients who said they were treated well
    • Is anyone better off?  For example the number or percentage of clients who said we helped them with their problem

    The last question is the most important as it focuses on the difference that the service made to an individual.  But, it is often hard to control this impact as well as measure it.


    Turning the Curve is a process for turning talk into action.  It starts with baseline measurement information and invites partners to explore the story behind this information; the partners we need moving forward; and, knowledge of what works in order to inform the development of an action plan.  Turning the Curve can be carried out

    • by a partnership - focussing on population level accountability, an outcome and its indicators
    • by an individual service or project - focussing on performance level accountability and the service's performance measures