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Ecosystem readiness for outcomes-based partnerships: key conditions, capacities and characteristics

Engaging with Evidence is a series of interactive online convenings hosted by the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) and designed to encourage a greater understanding of the latest evidence on the use of cross-sector partnerships focused on outcomes. The sessions are hosted monthly, and attract a diverse range of practitioners from different sectors, as well as researcher from across the world.  

Building independent, high-quality evidence 

At the GO Lab, we believe in the importance of building independent, high-quality evidence and disseminating it effectively to inform policy decisions and improve practice on the ground. As new evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches is starting to emerge, we hope that with this series of online convenings we can continue to bridge the gap between evidence and practice, and help foster real dialogue between policymakers, practitioners and researchers in an honest, transparent and constructive way. Both veterans and explorers interested in better understanding the latest evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches are welcome to join these sessions.  

Throughout 2021, Engaging with Evidence will offer an open platform for policymakers, practitioners and researchers around the world to engage with key findings from the latest research and evaluation work in the field. They will have the opportunity to discuss new evidence directly with the authors of research and evaluation studies, hear the practical insights of the partners involved in the development and implementation of the projects under discussion, and reflect on the relevance of the evidence to their own work.  

What to expect

Each session lasts 90 minutes and features contributions from a diverse panel of experts, as well as ample time for contributions and questions from all participants. Discussions at each session are grounded in the findings of a recent evaluation or research study, with additional practical insights brought in by stakeholders directly involved in the work or project under discussion. Each session follows a set format:  

  1. Setting the context & presentation of the evaluation/ research findings
  2. Discussion with the panel and audience questions
  3. Closing remarks 

If you’d like to suggest a topic or highlight a recent study that you’d like to see discussed on a future session, please contact our moderators Andreea Anastasiu.

Session recording

Session recording

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

Session overview

The last decade has seen outcomes-based partnerships being formed for the first time in a growing number of countries around the world. From tackling issues around youth employment and child welfare to improving health and education, these partnerships have taken a variety of forms. But what conditions make a country or an ecosystem, including its service providers, “ready” for an outcomes-based partnership? What capabilities could be built over time to prepare it?

For this Engaging with Evidence session, we explored the key conditions and competencies that enable successful delivery of outcomes-based partnerships. In the session we took stock of existing frameworks for assessing the readiness of government and service providers to engage in outcomes-based partnerships, and share findings from a recent review conducted by Social Finance UK in partnership with the Government Outcomes Lab. The review builds on existing evidence and practice to develop two coherent and comprehensive frameworks for assessing the readiness of eco-systems and service provider organisations respectively, to engage in outcomes-based partnerships. Providing tools to map the necessary competencies is crucial in identifying and better understanding gaps and in informing a substantive capacity-building agenda for policy-makers, donors and funders to use.

We were joined by some of the key stakeholders of this research and a group of experienced practitioners in the field who reflected on these frameworks, as well as other existing guides and frameworks. We also discussed what this emerging research means for using outcomes-based contracting for systems strengthening globally. We explored with the panellists how we can strengthen these ecosystems, and grow the potential that outcomes-based partnerships possess to improve public services and social outcomes.


Frameworks: Engaging in outcomes-based partnerships: Frameworks to support ecosystem and service provider readiness (Social Finance and Government Outcomes Lab)

Introductory guide: Outcomes-based contracting (Government Outcomes Lab)