A ‘whole of system’ measurement approach

There is a high degree of uncertainty about the effectiveness of the Government’s investment in responses to family violence, not least due to the quality of evidence about ‘what works, what doesn’t and why’, but also given there is no one unique, uncontested measure of effectiveness (the ‘measurement problem’). Determining how the performance of the ‘whole of system’ is conceptualised and measured is a critical prerequisite to further development and on-going investment. Recognising the inability of traditional outcomes frameworks to take into account multiple and competing goals, a systems approach was adopted to make explicit the ways in which different purposes, perspectives and boundaries impact on the effectiveness of the ‘whole system’.

Our researchers, in partnership with the University of Canterbury’s family violence experts: clarified what value systems concepts such as emergence and boundaries adds to the measurement problem, and scoped a systems-based methodology to measure the effectiveness of ‘whole of system’ response to family violence.

A ‘proof of concept’ for a measurement methodology that combines System Dynamics, Balanced Scorecard and Sense-making methodologies was provided to the client. This will enable the client to test the proposed measurement methodology in practice as well as enable them to gauge to what extent systems thinking provides insights into the measurement of the family violence sector effectiveness.

Read the ESR Report done for Superu to assess the effectiveness of whole of government efforts to prevent family violence (external link) .