Making sense of collective impact: Communities test new framework

What are early childhood initiatives to do when faced with an abundance of indicators to measure outcomes?

It can be confusing to weigh up the different options and, when overwhelmed with choice, we often select indicators that don’t allow for comparison across initiatives. And that’s not all: outcome frameworks usually provide little guidance about how to shift the outcome and what strategies to put in place.

As a social innovation lab, Opportunity Child is unique in its ability to draw learning and insights from those on the ground doing the real collective impact work.

The Opportunity Child National Measurement Framework showcases the common indicators our community partners are using and points communities to the risk and protective factors that can influence these outcomes. Using ARACY’s The Nest domains, this framework provides scaffolding for communities to make evidence-based decisions about how to improve outcomes.

It is now available for Opportunity Child communities.

It isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ – the National Measurement Framework can be customised to individual community needs and conditions. It recognises that collective impact initiatives vary in their chosen priority outcomes and strategies.

The National Measurement Framework is structured around five domains, adopted from The Nest ®, the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth’s (ARACY’s) national plan for child and youth wellbeing and includes three key OC tools:

  1. A Shared Outcomes Framework
  2. An Indicator Bank
  3. A handbook.

The National Measurement Framework does not prescribe a set of outcome indicators that all collective impact communities need to report against. Instead, it seeks to inform community decision making and measurement about the priority outcomes they have chosen.

Funding for the Framework was provided by the Ten20 Foundation, Woodside and Goodstart Early LearningIt was informed by a detailed literature search led by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), ARACY, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and Telethon Kids Institute (TKI), a subsequent internal review and consultations with our community partners. It was further strengthened and refined by the OC impact team and communities along the way. 

We are moving away from the same old thinking and from trying to solve wicked social problems on our own. The release of the draft National Measurement Framework is a significant milestone in our quest to create change in a system that is not working, for the sake of Australia’s most vulnerable children.

Opportunity Child is committed to monitoring and evaluating our progress towards two parts of our bold goal: increasing the number of children who are thriving in our partner communities, and contributing to changing the system for all communities to work collectively on early childhood development.

If you would like to know more about our collective impact approach or the National Measurement Framework, contact us here.

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