Outcomes Approach

ESS has always promoted an outcomes approach when it comes to self-evaluation because outcomes are about the difference that your organisation makes.

The public sector focus on measuring targets about service use means we (may) know if services have been delivered but not whether these are the right services, delivered in the right way to the right people to achieve the outcomes people want. 

ESS would like to see a much stronger focus in the public sector on outcomes and on evaluation for learning

To self-evaluate, individual organisations should set, measure and report on positive outcomes they can reasonably achieve themselves.  Logic models or research can be used to show contribution towards longer term outcomes. 

We understand that the outcomes approach can sometimes be tricky! Over many years we’ve developed loads of resources and held events on various outcomes topics – from defining outcomes, to setting outcomes, and mapping outcomes – just to name a few.

On this page we signpost to some of our work to support you in using the outcomes approach to evaluation.

We aim to keep updating this page, but if you have any questions please get in touch.



Understanding different outcomes – personal, organisational, strategic




Mapping personal outcomes to project-level outcomes

Shona Wells, ESS Training Officer talks about how she helps third sector organisations see a way to use personal outcomes to show the difference their service makes.

Other resources on mapping various outcomes


  • Third Sector Interface Outcome Framework

    ESS was commissioned by Scottish Government to facilitate the development of an outcomes framework for third sector interfaces for the work that Scottish Government directly fund through the Third Sector Division.

For general support in setting outcomes 

ESS Support Guides

‘Evaluation Explained’ videos

Case Studies

  • Case Study: Music 4 U

    This case study is about how a range of evaluation support helped Music 4 U get to grips with evaluation, and got them all on the same page.

  • Case Study: The Ecology Centre

    This case study from The Ecology Centre is about how working as a team can help develop good evaluation practice .

  • Case Study: Pain Concern Helpline

    This case study is about the steps Pain Concern took in order to capture the difference their telephone helpline makes for people living in chronic pain.

Tweet Wall of the ‘Outcomes everywhere but which are mine?’ peer-learning online event in May 2021

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