Rapid AssessmentIntroducing a Six-Week Outcomes-Oriented Contracting Workshop Series

Are you interested in developing systems to improve data-driven decision-making? Do you want to learn more about contracting for positive outcomes? Have you thought about writing outcomes into contracts, but don’t know where to start?

Third Sector now offers a workshop-style six-week engagement for state, county, and local government agencies who want to learn about outcomes-oriented contracting and seek to identify initial actions they can take to incorporate outcomes metrics, enhanced incentive structures, and data-driven feedback loops into their social service contracting processes. Governments can use the workshops as a catalyst to foster cross-department collaboration and innovation and develop concrete next steps to embed outcomes measurement in their contracts and services.

What value will we receive from the workshops?

Participants leave the workshops with a strong understanding of approaches for using outcomes to guide program procurement, contract management, continuous improvement, and program evaluation. Additionally, participants will be armed with actionable recommendations for implementing outcomes orientation in their agency, as well as a prioritized short list of ripe opportunities for beginning contract transformation. Many governments use the workshops as a launch pad for further outcomes-oriented work, and workshops can be credited towards a future Third Sector “Assess Phase” engagement.

What will my agency learn and do in the workshops?

Workshops are structured around the five components of outcomes-oriented government and contracts:

  • Goals
  • Metrics
  • Data Sharing & Evaluation
  • Continuous Improvement Processes
  • Incentive Structures

For each of the five components, Third Sector provides case study examples from other jurisdictions and leads workshop participants through hands-on small group activities to apply the concept to a specific agency priority or program area. Workshop content is customized to meet government agencies where they are in their use of outcomes and to support the nuances of the program areas the agency funds. Some governments use these workshops to align on outcomes orientation priorities and identify specific RFPs or contracts to transform; whereas, others choose to use the workshops to jumpstart work on a specific RFP, contract, or program area. For example, in recent workshops with the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the activities focused on enhancing the 2Gen approach of DTA’s Young Parent Program and embedding a 2Gen lens throughout the program’s goals, metrics, evaluation, and continuous improvement processes outlined in its February 2018 reprocurement.

What will my agency gain from the workshops?

Workshop participants can expect to leave the workshops with:

  • A greater understanding of outcomes-oriented contracting
  • Examples from other government agencies that have implemented outcomes-oriented contracts
  • Concrete next steps for implementing components of outcomes-oriented contracting in your agency and/or identified RFP, contract, or program area
  • A prioritized list of potential demonstration projects to use as a pilot for building outcomes-oriented contracting processes

Third Sector makes the workshops not only educational, but also actionable, so that the government agency can immediately begin to implement changes to improve its use of data, its relationship with providers, and/or its contracting processes.

What is the structure of the workshops?

The six week workshop series is comprised of four meetings:

  • A One-Hour Workshop Preparation Meeting: During this meeting, Third Sector will work with your agency to prepare for the outcomes-orientation workshops. This includes gathering additional context and data to tailor the workshops, as well as outlining your agency’s goals for the workshops.
  • Two Three-Hour Content Workshops: The first workshop will focus on goals, metrics, data sources, data sharing, and evaluation. The second will cover continuous improvement processes and incentive structures. Both will include multiple hands-on activities in break-out groups.
  • Two-Hour Next Steps Meeting: During this meeting, Third Sector will propose potential next steps the government agency can pursue (with or without further Third Sector support) to continue to improve its outcomes-orientation. For governments desiring to select priority projects, this meeting will also include an exercise for prioritizing projects, as well as an opportunity for Third Sector to answer any lingering questions from the workshops.

Who should attend the workshops?

Workshops are designed for a group of 8-12 cross-department mid- and executive-level government agency staff. We recommend including staff from the program, budget, data, and procurement teams. If you have questions on who to include, Third Sector can provide additional guidance.

What do I need to do to prepare for the workshops?

Third Sector will do all of the heavy lifting to prepare for the workshops. We will ask you to introduce us to different agency stakeholders leading up to the workshops in order to gather information to customize the workshops, and we’ll need your help to schedule workshops and invite participants.