Work on personal outcomes can be traced back over a number of years, starting with initial research in Scotland on the outcomes important to people using services and carers, through to embedding of research outputs in practice settings. Work continued on an organisational approach to outcomes, which has continued to be promoted in diverse policy agendas in Scotland.
A long term research programme on outcomes at the University of York began in 1996 conducted by the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU). This informed a UK wide research study, based at the University of Glasgow from 2004 to 2006 and including older people, people with learning disabilities and people using mental health services.
Through these projects, change, process and quality of life outcomes were identified. The resultant framework of outcomes important to adults living in the community was later augmented by frameworks for unpaid carers and for people living in care homes.
At the same time, work was underway in Scotland to develop an outcomes focused overarching policy framework for children and young people Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and associated indicators Safe Healthy Achieving Nurtured Active Respected Responsible Included (SHANARRI). While there are different origins for these outcomes frameworks, they have developed in tandem with the following principles in common:
- Close working with people to find out what matters to them, in order to influence decisions
- The importance of interagency working around what matters to the person/family
- Strengths based practice which acknowledges and builds on individual capabilities
- Sees people in the context of their lives, not just within services
Development of an Organisational Approach
From an early stage it was clear that what was required was more than a ‘toolkit’ and training, but an organisational approach to embedding outcomes. This has been a key focus for the developmental work since, encompassing the three core practice components of engaging, recording and using information. This was captured in our Talking Points: Practical Guide (2012)
Various national agencies support the continuing embedding of outcomes in practice. In 2015, they came together to form the Personal Outcomes Network Coordinating Group.