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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

The 10 (updated) Commandments of Payment by Results

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An updated set of principles for commissioning by payment by results based on a substantial review of the most recent research.

An evolving evidence base

Legend has it that Moses had to come down from Mount Sinai twice with the 10 Commandments —- having smashed the first set in anger at the sinning Israelites.

The bible says that the second version was identical to the first.

By contrast, my original 10 Commandments of Payment by Results have not proved to be so set in stone.

I created the first list of what is essentially 10 principles for PbR commissioning in 2013. However, earlier this year, I embarked on a large project for the Oak Foundation developing an interactive PbR tool to help commissioners, investors and providers think through the key issues associated with a PbR contract.

As part of that work, I undertook a substantial literature review (free to download here) which has prompted me to update my original key principles. One of the interesting features of the lit review was the surge in PbR research, of the 93 studies I reviewed, 59 had been published in 2013 or later. We still don’t have a clear indication of whether PbR as a model works or not; but we have a much better understanding of the factors which make some schemes successes and others failures.

If you are thinking of using PbR to commission a service or considering bidding to provide a service under a PbR contract, I hope you will find the infographic below useful.

Related posts you might like:

The Justice Committee questions the rationale for TR

One of the driving forces of TR is the desire to improve reoffending rates and cut costs. The Committee was particularly interested to get a sound cost benefit analysis of the proposed changes. The Committee criticises the MoJ for being “less than forthcoming” with information about the costs of TR and highlights two key points…

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The 9th Commandment of Payment by Results: Thou shalt join up commissioning

If successful recovery from addiction can only be achieved by a coordinated approach across the health, drug treatment, criminal justice, housing, social care and ETE (employment, training and education) sectors, which government departments should pay for which outcomes? Ideally the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health, DWP and Supporting People should all contribute to a pooled budget. But of course that’s not the way that departmental budgets work – indeed, there’s evidence that, despite the Community Budgets initiative – departmentalitis has actually got worse over recent years in the face of largescale and repeated cuts in expenditure.

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The 8th Commandment of Payment by Results: Thou shalt share the fruits of thy labours

By focusing on outcomes, commissioners allow providers to design the service in any which way they choose – safe in the knowledge that they will only have to pay out if that service is successful. This “Black Box” approach has become increasingly contentious since the advent of the Work Programme and the introduction of large private companies into the delivery of public services. One of the key reason underlying the choice of the Work Programme contract areas was the desire to introduce direct competition between providers…

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