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Results-Based Accountability: Communication is Key

By Susan S. DiMattia

Results-Based Accountability or RBA, sometimes also referred to as Outcomes-Based Accountability or OBA, is used to improve the performance of an organization’s programs or services to produce measurable change. RBA has many connotations, but here is defined as a data-driven decision-making process to get beyond talking about problems and take action to solve them. It begins with researching and identifying desired end results then creating prioritized actions to establish the best possible means to achieve those ends. One question asked during the process is “Are the customers of your products and services better off because of the quality and efficiency of your services?” It is a “cousin” to the Return on Investment (ROI) concept and encompasses elements of advocacy. On the surface, RBA may not seem much different from the traditional methods adapted by information professionals, but if there is substance enough to create some new ways of thinking, it’s worth considering. Regardless of whether a single method or a mix of concepts is employed, a strong communication plan is key.

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