Social Outcomes Conference 2020: Call for papers and presentations
- 23 February 2020
- Posted by: Helen Nicol
- Category: News
Date: 3-4th September 2020
Location: Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford
Hosted by the Government Outcomes Lab at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government
Building on the core themes that emerged at last year’s conference, the Social Outcomes Conference 2020 will explore a range of topics that cut across multiple disciplines and areas of expertise, including:
Contracting and governance: how partnerships are structured and overseen
- What are the different ways to organise and manage cross-sector relationships, and which are most effective?
- What are the different choices governments are faced with when structuring their relationship with external organisations?
- What are the relative merits of different funding mechanisms to help catalyse closer cross-sector partnerships that deliver impact at scale, such as results-based finance, impact bonds, and grants?
- Do we need to change the way we think about public procurement to enable outcomes-focused cross-sector partnerships to be set up and managed effectively?
Impact bonds and outcomes funds: making sense of the evidence and emerging practice in an ever-evolving landscape
- As more impact bonds are being developed across the world, how has this mechanism evolved over the decade since the first impact bond was launched in the UK?
- What are the drivers and logics for the introduction of this tool in new geographies?
- What are the unique features and challenges of implementing outcomes-based approaches in the Global South?
- How are outcomes funds and other ‘market-building’ devices being used to catalyse the application of outcomes-based approaches at scale?
Data and transparency: the use of data and evidence to inform decision making in cross-sector partnerships for social impact
- How is data used in cross-sector partnerships?
- What are the tensions surrounding data and evidence use? Which actors hold power to shape and influence the production and use of data? How can we make best use of existing data and evidence to improve the implementation of outcomes-based approaches?
- When have transparency and data sharing been used to improve policy and practice aimed at improving social outcomes – and what are the benefits, challenges and limitations around data transparency?
- Can a focus on data and performance management help consolidate a cross-organisation culture of learning and evidence-based decision-making?
Measurement and metrics: measuring what matters
- Standardised social impact metrics are overwhelmingly focused on outputs and activities of an intervention, rather than measuring for outcomes. Should this changed, and, if so, how can that change be brought about?
- When it comes to measuring what matters, what are some promising approaches from emerging practice?
- Standardisation of measures is crucial in helping build evidence by allowing comparisons across time, place or units of observations. Can this be reconciled with the need to ensure that outcome measurement captures what is most important to the intended beneficiaries of a social intervention (i.e. outcomes measurement for whom), and is harmonisation of measures a good alternative if the answer is no?
- Should measurement be linked to targets, or only be applied for post-hoc learning?
Collaboration and communities: how people work together towards better social outcomes
- Attempts to improve collaboration within and between government and non-government agencies have a long history. What is the latest practice and how does it build on earlier efforts?
- How are the voices of people on the receiving end of services incorporated into the way partnerships are structured, and how are they in engaged in design and delivery?
- How can the agency of individuals, and the power of small self-organised community groups, be harnessed towards improved social outcomes?
- How and when should efforts be made to incentivise collaboration over competition?
For those wishing to present at the conference, please submit a 500-word abstract by 30th April 2020.