Performance Evaluation Overview: Columbus Model

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Toolkits | October 15, 2010

Files: DOC | 97 KB | 5 pages

Columbus’ continuum operates through an outcomes-based funding model that uses measurable performance standards to monitor agencies’ and systems’ progress toward achieving community goals. The community evaluates 15 system-level performance measures and more than 30 client- and program- level measures. These performance standards reinforce an overall vision and strategy for improving the homeless services system and working toward the eventual elimination of homelessness.

A central component of Columbus’ evaluation process involves “scoring” individual providers as High, Medium or Low performers. Scores are based on achievement of overall program performance goals and outcomes that are developed by CSB in collaboration with the service provider and outlined in the agency’s contract. In addition, Columbus evaluates each performance goal individually as Achieved (Yes/Y), Not Achieved (No/N), or Not Applicable (N/A). An Achieved Goal is defined as 90 percent or better of a numerical goal or within 5 percentage points of a percentage goal. Not Applicable is assigned when a performance goal was not assigned. A program that experiences repeated difficulty meeting performance goals is considered a “program of concern.”

System/Program Evaluation Ratings
High Achieve at least 75 percent of the measure outcomes and at least one of the successful housing outcomes (either number or percentage outcome)
Medium Achieve at least 50 percent but less than 75 percent of the measured outcomes
Low Achieve less than 50 percent of the measured outcomes

Performance Incentives and Improvement

In order to drive overall system improvement and reductions in homelessness, Columbus uses a combination of approaches. CSB incentivizes a high level of performance by using performance-based contracts. In addition, CSB encourages agencies to perform well by making funding decisions and merit awards based on agencies’ annual evaluation and performance ratings.

Quality Improvement Intervention Program

One of the most remarkable approaches used in Columbus to help agencies strengthen their performance is CSB’s Quality Improvement Intervention Program (QII). Programs rated as “Low,” identified as a “program of concern,” or that fail to comply with CSB’s Administrative and Program Standards go through the QII, which covers the following core areas:

  • Problem identification
  • Collaborative goal setting and improvement planning
  • Responsibility assignment
  • Progress updates

Low performers are required to participate in the QII; however, if the low performing program and CSB cannot reach agreement on these core areas, the agency may appeal to the CoC Steering Committee for review and final recommendation.

Throughout the QII process, CSB conducts at least quarterly one-on-one dialogues with the troubled agency. Agencies also submit monthly indicator reports to CSB and check-in regularly regarding specific action steps and timelines. The process may include organizational development opportunities such as training, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and outside consulting or facilitation support. The QII may be as short a month or last up to 24 months and is tailored to each program’s needs. If a program is unable to deliver acceptable performance outcomes, it is defunded.

Columbus has a 100 percent success rate for improving organizations outcomes and helping them achieve system standards.