Who do? You do? Remind me of the Oulu?

People Dialogue and Change has been providing consultancy support to the City of Oulu Kuntalaislähtöinen Community Led Local Development project in Finland.  Check out their fantastic "Kaos" branding in the picture below....(yes this really does translate as "30 hours of Chaos")

The Kaos programmes support groups of young people to identify social issues and then design and commission responses from local VCFS orgs.  

We supported the staff team to develop a theory of change for the project and to think about ways of evaluating the impact and outcomes they are having on city decision making, relationships with the VCFS and project participants. 

This was big step conceptually for the team who rose to the challenge of working with outcome measurements simultaneously in Finnish and English!  For the Finnish team, the concept of outcomes was a new one - it proved a useful way to help them think about the social change they were trying to create. Though as one team member joked to us, in what we were told was a compliment "there is no one who thinks like you in Finland".  (Click the link to read our thoughts!)
This was a stark reminder that outcomes measurement isn't the only way to organise and monitor public services. With the decades long zeitgeist for outcomes in the UK, its easy to assume that this approach is everywhere. But by comparison to the socialist climbs of northern Finland, where process orientated approaches are still the norm, we are reminded that it's a concept designed to support the decidedly more neo-liberal approach to public services in the UK. 

Rightly or wrongly the outcomes agenda shows no sign of shifting soon, but its still important not to accept it uncritically, and recognise there are other ways of doing things. 

You can follow the Kaos project on twitter here