The language of RBA: what we talk about when we talk about outcomes measurement

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The language of RBA: what we talk about when we talk about outcomes measurement

The DHHS framework is based on Results Based Accountability (RBA) which is a framework for measuring the outcomes of community work.

RBA strongly emphasises that the language used in measuring outcomes should be simple and easy to understand.

Here is how RBA uses some key words:


At the whole of community, or population, level…


RBA would call these results. The DHHS framework calls them outcomes. Sometimes they are called goals.

Outcomes are conditions of well-being for the whole population of children, adults, families or communities, whatever is the focus. They are things like:

  • Healthy children
  • Strong families
  • Safe communities


This is the measure, or number, that helps to tell us whether we have achieved an outcome.

For example, if our outcome is ‘safe communities’, the number of violent crimes would help us track whether the community is getting safer or not.


Strategies and performance measures are about the means used to get to the outcomes.

These are the measures that relate to our services.



These are the activities or actions adopted to try to achieve outcomes.

Performance measure

This is a measure of how well a service is working. The DHHS framework also calls these outcomes.

RBA asks for three kinds of performance measures. They are the answers to these questions:

  • How much did we do?
  • How well did we do it?
  • Is anyone better off?