GoLab – Social Outcomes Conference 2022

Dr Anna Good shares her thoughts on #SOC22

Last week, Triangle directors- Graham Randles, Joy MacKeith and I attended the Government Outcomes Lab annual conference #SOC22

One presentation that particularly resonated with me was from Reji Ikeda at the Ministry of Justice in Japan. Talking about ‘value measurement for offender rehabilitation’, he emphasised the importance of the quality of the relationship and the ‘emotional labour of professionals and volunteers’ on rehabilitation outcomes. He also spoke about how poor occupational well-being can negatively impact these relationships. I couldn’t resist mentioning the Justice Star as an excellent tool for developing trusting relationships and boosting staff morale in this context.

Joy’s recent report Enabling help puts human relationships at the heart of effective service delivery, so this is at the forefront of my mind when thinking about the Star. The Enabling help report highlights the problems with borrowing from approaches such as the scientific and economic paradigms in social provision. Although not focused on the Star, the innovative suite of Stars offers a better, more enabling approach. I thought of this when the keynote presenter, Julie Battliana, stated that ‘agitation is alone is not enough to make change happen, innovation is required’.

 Another theme that I noticed running throughout the conference was the desire to use data to improve service delivery. I felt this was encouraging in a conference often focused on meeting targets and payment by results. Miika Vuorinen, a Chief of Evaluation from Finland, commented that one way to know if social outcome frameworks are working is to see if they are being integrated into the decision-making processes. Closer to home, Stan Gilmour from Thames Valley Police gave a powerful presentation, emphasising ethical decisions based on using data to allocate resources and plan social impact.

It’s possible I was looking out for these positive signs, as I feel passionate about encouraging and supporting good use of Star data. By ‘good use’ of data, I mean those closest to the creation of Star data (practitioners and managers) interpreting the data and using the learning to encourage changes needed to maximise the outcomes for those being supported.

Further reading: Going for collaboration at the GoLab Conference

Triangle co-founder and Outcomes Star co-author Joy MacKeith reflects on the theme of collaboration at this year’s Social Outcomes Conference and points to Human Learning Systems as an effective way to make this the norm in service delivery.

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