Measuring Outcomes – Producing Evidence – Demonstrating Impact

Over the past few months myself and Mike Cummins, as part of our nascent co-operative set-up, have been working with Gateway Family Services building a system to help them demonstrate the impact of their work with pregnant women. Gateway have a Pregnancy Outreach Worker project which works with women who have “indicators of social risk”.


This means that their living circumstances are such – they may have substance addiction(s), be living in temporary accommodation or newly arrived in the country, for example – that their pregnancy is in particular risk of having a poor outcome.

Pregnancy outreach workers (POWs) support pregnant women during their pregnancy, help them attend clinical appointments and aim for them to be more independent upon leaving the service. Often they will help them with access to another service and will hand them over to them when their POWs support finishes.

We’ve looked at a number of the different frameworks that organisations use when they are commissioning public health services that relate to pregnancy and maternity. From those we have created a system where a service provider, such as Gateway, can enter their summary data once, but can then publish it against any one of a number of the relevant frameworks.

The frameworks we have looked at include:

As part of this work we have gone back and spoken with outreach workers about how they collect the data and what it means to them. So, for instance, we’ve found that most staff will mark somebody as homeless if they are living in a hostel, which doesn’t match the government’s definition of homeless (if you’re in a hostel then officially you’re living in temporary accommodation).

Because of this we’ve created a data dictionary that defines what each indicator is, why it is collected and which framework(s) it is used in. We’ll be publishing this with an open license as part of the project and the summary data will be available in open formats.

I’ll be talking about the work we’ve done, and how it sits alongside the other digital tools that Gateway have been developing with Podnosh, at the Measuring Outcomes – Producing Evidence – Demonstrating Impact event in Leeds next week.

We hope that it’ll be a really interesting event, for organisations who provide public health services as well as people who commission them.

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