Report Housing assistance and policy Non shelter outcomes Social and affordable housing

The role of outcomes-based frameworks in social housing provision in Australia

Final Report No. 419

Date Published: 16 May 2024

Authors: Cameron Duff Guy Johnson Hazel Blunden Ella Horton Christian A. Nygaard

This research examines the organisational and resource implications of transitioning from ‘output-based’ to ‘outcomes-based’ funding arrangements for providing social housing in Australia. It explores relevant housing policy contexts, reviewing opportunities and key policy barriers for this reform goal.

With outcomes-based service models, organisational funding arrangements are tied to specific service outcomes (such as better health or employment outcomes) rather than discrete service volumes (such as number of clients served). To work properly, outcomes-based funding requires ongoing accurate measurements and evaluation of the effectiveness of welfare interventions. 

While there is widespread agreement among stakeholders—policy makers, service providers and consumers—that a shift from an output-based to an outcome-oriented housing assistance and support system makes sense, there are concerns about the best way to measure outcomes that take into account the complex differences among social housing tenants, and the recognition that when outcome measurement is done poorly, it can have a damaging impact on both service users and service providers.

The research strongly recommends government do more to standardise outcomes measures. There are broader national health and social care services datasets that could be used to drive this standardisation of performance benchmarks and measures, such as the existing data analytics and evaluation capabilities of organisations like the Australian Bureau of Statistics or the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare. In addition, establishing a National Housing Outcomes Clearinghouse could support the development of standardised outcomes tools, methods and approaches, clarifying what outcomes agencies are responsible for, while also supporting the dissemination of key outcomes findings to drive service improvements across the sector.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri5331401

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-87-8


Duff, C., Johnson, G., Blunden, H., Horton, E., and Nygaard, A. (2024) The role of outcomes-based frameworks in social housing provision in Australia, AHURI Final Report No. 419, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne,, doi: 10.18408/ahuri5331401.

Duff, Cameron
Johnson, Guy
Blunden, Hazel
Horton, Ella
A. Nygaard, Christian