A personal outcomes approach means that organisations focus on what matters to people and their families. This may sound simple. Focusing on outcomes is consistent with person-centred planning and support, and reflects many of the values and principles embodied in professional training. But too often our system tends to focus on what is important to services, especially when it comes to measuring and reporting information.
A personal outcomes approach involves finding out what matters to people, writing that down and linking it up to project, service, organisational or national outcomes. If staff are under too much pressure to gather data for systems purposes this can lead to ‘filtering’ of the conversation and potentially missing the point. Additionally, because systems have tended to focus on approaches which accentuate deficits rather than potential, refocusing on outcomes can be challenging in practice. Feedback consistently emphasises that shifting towards a focus on outcomes takes time.
It has been identified that it is not enough to produce outcomes focussed tools and provide one off training events. Evidence shows that other forms of continuing support are required for outcomes focussed practice, and consideration should be given to developing outcomes focussed supervision for staff, and continuing opportunities to share learning and good practice examples etc.
Evidence also shows that it is not possible for practitioners to practice in an outcomes focused way unless systems and processes in the organisation support them in this. There are materials to support outcomes focused leadership and the Talking Points practical guideTalking-Points-Practical-Guide-21-June-2012 includes discussion of the system changes required.
To summarise the key points:
- Embedding outcomes within an organisation takes a long time and is best understood as a journey.
- It can be helpful to think about three components of a personal outcomes approach: engagement, recording and use of information
- It is not enough to produce tools and provide one off training events. Practitioners need ongoing support and supervision to support the change in practice.
Practitioners cannot be expected to be outcomes focussed in their practice if their organisation is not outcomes focused too.