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Results-Based Accountability

Management Analysis and Development (MAD) uses Results-Based Accountability (RBA) as a disciplined way to think and take action to improve effectiveness.

What is RBA?

  • Way of thinking and taking action that can be used to improve the performance of programs and service systems.
  • Simple, plain language approach to measurement that puts the focus on the ends and works backward to the means.
  • Series of facilitated process steps used to guide a group of people towards improving program performance ("turn the curve" exercise).
  • Process that enables policymakers, funders, and program administrators to identify how well programs are doing in achieving a particular quality of life result, determine where they might need to make changes, and provide a way to hold them accountable for performance.
  • If the projected performance is not acceptable, the RBA methodology helps stakeholders identify what changes will be needed to "turn the curve"—that is, to move the trend line in a positive direction.

Benefits of RBA

  • RBA is a fairly simple approach and tool to learn and use.
  • RBA encourages the use of plain language that everyone can understand.
  • The RBA approach focuses on moving forward and not getting "stuck" in striving for perfection.
  • The process can be initiated in a short timeframe if desired.
  • Distinguishes between outcomes of larger populations (which we have less control of) and performance of smaller entities (programs, service systems, agencies).
  • End product is a visual that tells a story that can be easily communicated and understood by others removed from the program (legislators, etc.)

How could MAD help?

MAD consultants can help agencies interested in applying the RBA approach to other areas within their department beyond the budgeting process. MAD consultants have a wealth of experience in helping state agencies work more effectively. RBA is one approach among many that MAD uses to assist agencies interested in improving program performance. MAD consultants are state employees who understand that implementing a new approach or system takes time, and processes are often not implemented in the same manner across programs or agencies. RBA is no different. MAD will work with clients to customize an approach to meet their needs—needs that depend on where they are in the RBA process. MAD can help clients work through specific parts of the RBA process, facilitate "turn the curve" planning exercises, and act as a sounding board throughout the process as needed.

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