I recently (February 2016) undertook a review of the payment by results literature.
The literature review analysed 93 research studies into a very wide range of programmes funded by a payment by results/outcomes approach. The review focuses on programmes in the social care sector – including criminal justice, health, homelessness, substance misuse, troubled families, worklessness – and prioritises provision in the UK. However, studies of particular interest from other countries or other sectors were also included.
The literature review found that the evidence base is not able to give a clear indication as to whether payment by results works. Essentially, PbR schemes vary so much and are commissioned with so many different purposes that it is currently not possible to reach a definitive assessment about the effectiveness of the approach.
However, the rapid proliferation of PbR schemes has helped to generate useful knowledge for those involved in their commissioning, delivery or evaluation. It was possible to identify a set of critical success factors and an even larger number of issues likely to cause schemes to fail or result in unintended outcomes.
The final version of the literature review is available online, please download it here.
The key lessons from the review have been broken up into shorter easy-to-digest summaries which are being published as a series of weekly blog posts starting on Wednesday 3 February 2016.