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This paper explores Oxfam GB’s early experience implementing an alternative approach to operationalising global outcome indicators as a means of understanding programme impact and organisational performance.

Non-government organisations (NGOs) working in the international development sector need credible, reliable feedback on whether their interventions are making a meaningful difference, but they struggle to achieve this in a practical, proportional way. In 2011, Oxfam GB established its Global Performance Framework (GPF) to help the organisation to deliver on its commitments to be accountable to its wide range of stakeholders, and to improve its ability to understand and communicate the impact of its programmes.

The GPF focuses on seven thematic priorities: humanitarian response; adaptation and risk reduction (resilience); livelihood enhancement; women’s empowerment; citizen voice; policy influencing; and accountability.

There are two main elements in the GPF: a Global Output Report which details what the organisation is doing to bring about a world free of poverty, inequality, and injustice; and Effectiveness Reviews, intensive evaluations that consider the extent to which projects have contributed to change in relation to the selected global outcome indicator.

After three years of using the GPF Oxfam GB carried out a review to acknowledge its strengths and weaknesses, to inform decisions on how it could be strengthened, and to ensure it remains fit for purpose. This paper shares and discusses the lessons learned from the review.


This is the author’s submitted version of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Development Effectiveness on 17/11/2014 as “Balancing accountability and learning: a review of Oxfam GB’s global performance framework”.

The final article is available online at

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