The goal-based outcomes (GBO) tool is a simple and effective method to measure progress and outcomes of an intervention.  It grew out of work with children, young people and their families in mental health and emotional well-being settings but can be used in any setting, that is change-focused and goal-oriented – including adult and physical health contexts. The GBO has been used extensively both in the UK and internationally.

The goal-based outcomes (GBO) tool is a tool to help facilitate collaborative goal-oriented conversations & to help track progress towards goalsand facilitate further collaborative goal-oriented conversations.

The tool tracks what is arguably the most important thing to measure in any intervention: “Is this helping you make progress towards the things that you really want help with?” 

This full guidance can be downloaded here

Hard copies if the guidance will be available from later this month please follow to keep up to date with publication details.

4 thoughts on “Guidance notes for using the goal-based outcome (GBO) tool

  1. Dear Dncan Law, have you done any evaluation of the impact of sharing the previous goal before scoring? I work with families and work together with parents to set goals for their relationships. My own experience has been that people often feel allied to a previous measure. If they do not recall the previous goal measurement my experience has been that this leaves them freer to relate to the now. When the previous measure is then shared they often expresss surprise at the positive change. Please can you advise re your own experience or any evaluation whether you recommend previous measurement sharing or not. Kind regards Carol Bridges


    1. Hi Carol
      Thank you for this important question.
      First, let me say that the GBO is primarily a clinical tool. So how it is best used is a judgment made collaboratively between the practitioner and the client. They decide how and when ratings are made. However, my clinical experience is similar to yours in that clients are influenced by previous ratings. This can become ‘allied’ to that rating or can feel ‘pressure’ to show improvement: be a ‘good client’. Either way, this can lead to helpful clinical conversations about the rating.
      In my own clinical practice I usually don’t reveal previous ratings before the client has given their current rating – and then reveal previous ratings and discuss any changes.
      I’m not aware of any formal research specifically related to GBO ratings – I’d be interested to know if anyone has done any research around this issue?
      Hope this helps?


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