Extracts from an Interesting Academic Journal article on Results Based Accounting (Impact Measurement)

The following is taken from a recent Australian description of process towards Results Based Accounting: Keevers, L., Treleaven, L., Sykes, C., and Darcy, M. (2012). “Made to Measure: Taming Practices with Results-based Accountability.” Organization Studies, 33(1), pp 97-120.

    “A feature of government public policy has been an attempt to manage the community sector (other terms are also used to describe this sector such as ‘third’, ‘charitable’, ‘not-for-profit’, ‘voluntary’ and ‘civil society’) through the introduction of these new planning and accountability approaches linked to economic models for managing funding”

    “..One such process used to measure the performance of community organizations is Results-Based Accountability (RBA). RBA is derived from protocols of financial accountability as a means to strengthen government’s capacity to manage service provision across the purchaser-provider divide, to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of government spending, and to increase accountability and transparency of public and community sector organizations”.

One sentence sums up these differences of a results-based approach based on procurement, delivery management and measurement and : (Keevers et al. 2012)

    “In this boundary cut that measures service provision, RBA excludes from mattering all the practices that cannot be constituted as ‘a service’. Yet, at Southern Youth these practices are identified as crucial in contributing to people’s struggles over recognition, belonging and ‘just’ living”

    “When using performance measurement frameworks that privilege quanta and measurable outcomes for entities, practices, relations and entanglements between entities fade from view. Thus, even though the ‘result’ in the table is concerned with people’s sense of connection and belonging, none of the indicators address these phenomena directly.”

    “However, within the current configurations of knowledge/power relations in the community sector, the governmental deployment of RBA with its emphasis on performance measurement, coordinated effort and consensus aligns with state-government efforts to re-position social justice organizations such as Southern Youth not as locally-based and autonomous but as detached sub-contractors in pur-chaser/provider relations”.

Keevers paper concludes: (Keevers et al. 2012)

    “The paper, thereby, contests overly simplistic, representational approaches to organizing that seek to make the world more controllable by taming the situated, emergent character of practising social justice”.

This and other recent articles will be further analysed soon. Further information on this developing topic will be posted in future Huckfield briefings.