Hard outcomes often relate to practical skills such as writing a CV or obtaining a job or qualification is something that is easy to measure and quantify where as soft outcomes such as increased motivation or improved self-esteem are much less tangible and therefore much more tricky to measure.
There are some “core” soft outcomes which are generally applicable to most of the health and social care target groups we work with. For example, many users in this group do suffer from lack of confidence and lack of self-esteem. Therefore it is really important to think about how to measure these outcomes so that projects can show their success. However, the list above is by no means an exclusive list and there may well be other soft outcomes you would wish to add that are appropriate to your target group.
Domain 1 - Health Protection and Resilience: Protecting the population’s health from major emergencies and remain resilient to harmDomain 2 - Tackling the wider determinants of health: factors which affect health and wellbeing and health inequalitiesDomain 3 - Health Improvement: Helping people to live healthy lifestyles, make healthy choices and reduce health inequalitiesDomain 4 - Prevention of ill health: Reducing the number of people living with preventable ill health and reduce health inequalities Domain 5 - Healthy life expectancy and preventable mortality: Preventing people from dying prematurely and reduce health inequalities
Individual action planning – this can normally be drawn up during the initial assessment session and can include personal objectives and be used to establish a baseline.Diary – this involves commitment on the part of the individual but if s/he writes regular updates after for example, a weekly training session, you can see how distance is travelled over time and how improvements are made. One means of increasing the validity and meaningfulness of using a diary would be for another person to also keep a diary at exactly the same time eg. A trainer could write their comments about the young person and look at distance travelled from their perspective too.Questionnaire – although it can be hard to quantify how much improvement has been made, it is possible to measure soft outcomes and distance travelled systematically through scoring systems and scales. For example, service users can complete a questionnaire based on scales of “feeling” or “agreement”. Eg. 1 – 10 “I strongly agree” or “I strongly disagree”. The service user’s starting point can then be established and distance travelled over time calculated.
It is important to define what different outcome indicators mean for different individuals by setting individual targets if possible. For example, confidence for one person may not be how someone else would define it. I would recommend breaking the outcome indicators down into targets. Eg. Caring more about appearance may be one way of defining increased levels of confidence for one young person but another young person may define increased levels of confidence in a completely different way. Important to sit down with the individual and discuss.Tools used for presenting findings help you focus as a project on what you need to do more of in a more tailored way.
Workshop - Evidencing your impact –showing what works
Evidencing your impact –Showing what works<br />Ronnie Wright<br />Voluntary Sector Team<br />The Care Forum<br />
Defining Outcomes<br />An aim is the change you are trying to bring about in an individual or target group<br />An outcome is the change, benefit, learning or other effects that actually do occur as a result of your activities<br />
Soft and Hard Outcomes – the difference<br />Hard outcomes are seen to be those that are more tangible or easily measured: reduced drug use, reduced rates of reconviction or offending<br />Soft outcomes are the outcomes from your training, support or other services which can not usually be measured directly or tangibly<br />
The determinants of health and well-being<br />
Public Health Outcomes Framework<br />Domain 1 - Health protection and resilience<br />Domain 2 - Tackling the wider determinants of health<br />Domain 3 - Health improvement<br />Domain 4 - Prevention of ill health<br />Domain 5 - Healthy life expectancy and preventable mortality<br />
Proposed Indicators<br />Wider determinants of health:<br />Proportion of people with mental illness and or disability in employment<br />Older people's perception of community safety<br />Social connectedness<br />Health improvement<br />Self reported wellbeing<br />
Example of soft outcome indicators<br />Target group: Young people not in education employment or training at 16<br />Aim: To increase the young people’s self-esteem<br />
Measuring soft outcomes<br />When you have set your outcomes you need to think about how to measure them.<br />Outcome indicators are a type of performance indicator and is the way in which we can assess whether the expected outcome is occurring. <br />Outcome indicators can be both qualitative or quantitative.<br />
Collecting information about soft outcomes<br />To assess whether a change in an individual has occurred, you need to collect information both before and after the intervention and preferably at regular intervals during the project <br />You need to establish a baseline in order to measure distance travelled<br />
Examples of collection methods to assess distance travelled<br />Individual action planning<br />Daily/weekly diary<br />Observation<br />Questionnaire<br />