Greater focus on outcomes needed in post-COVID world, says CIPFA


Guidance released today by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) urges the public sector to take an outcomes-focused approach to policy making. 

With COVID-19 expected to affect public budgets for some time to come, ‘Delivering outcomes in the public sector’ sets out how outcomes-based approaches and longer-term thinking support better understanding of the impact that public services are having.

While the need for an outcomes-based approach to management and governance has been known for some time, little has been said about this from a financial management perspective. CIPFA’s new guidance gives public finance practitioners the tools to design services that meet the needs of citizens, and to evaluate services that do not. 

Adoption of outcomes-based approaches will have a lasting impact across the sector – from health and social care, to housing and beyond.

CIPFA Technical Manager and co-author of Delivering Outcomes, Alan Bermingham, said:

‘‘COVID-19 has starkly revealed that, in many areas, public services are not meeting the needs of the populations they intend to serve. Shifting to long-term thinking about how these services will impact communities is essential.

‘‘This publication will raise awareness of the challenges that public bodies face when designing outcomes-based policies, how to correctly identify people-centred objectives, implement them and measure the results for the benefit of the most vulnerable.’’


Notes to editors:

  • An outcomes-based approach can be defined as a method of designing objectives based on the effect that a programme or activity will have on those it is intended to serve. It clarifies and assesses the purpose of a policy, organisation or service to determine if it is having the desired impact.
  • Delivering outcomes in the public sector is designed to help public finance professionals and organisations make the best decisions when it comes to funding public services, by taking a citizen-centred approach to policy making and measuring outcomes to guide future governance.
  • This publication is available for purchase here, however media access to the guidance can be made available upon request.

About CIPFA 
CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money. 

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