Results-Based Accountability™ (RBA) is an approach to measurement that puts the focus on the ends – the quality of life results for a population – rather than the means – the output of a program or system. Developed by Mark Friedman of the Fiscal Policies Studies Institute, RBA is characterized by:
RBA enables policy-makers, funders, and program administrators to identify how well they are doing in achieving a particular quality of life result and where they might need to make changes. “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.” If the projected performance is not acceptable, the RBA methodology helps stakeholders identify what changes will be needed to “turn the curve,” that is, move the trend line in a positive direction. The diagram below shows the basic steps in the framework.
The Charter Oak Group has adapted Friedman’s approach in its work with the Appropriations Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly. In two pilot projects that started in the fall of 2005, COG developed RBA templates for presenting both population and program data and assisted agencies in presenting their RBA data during budget hearings. The resulting dialogue between appropriators and agency administrators has been so informative and productive for both parties that this legislative initiative has been expanded to include additional quality of life results and to tie agencies’ RBA presentations more directly to the budget process.
The final report for the first phase of the Connecticut RBA initiative can be assessed from this link. The RBA templates for the two pilot projects are presented in the appendices. The first quality of life result, which was presented by a single state agency, is a clean and healthy Long Island Sound. The second quality of life result is having all children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn. This template was presented by a number of state agencies that constitute the Governor’s Early Childhood Cabinet.You can learn more about Friedman’s RBA framework at http://www.resultsaccountability.com/