Free Payment by Results Resources

This page provides links to a wide range of current resources around the issue of Payment by Results (PbR) and is updated regularly.

This is version 2.09, revised on 5 February 2015.

Email me if you’d like a free copy of this resource pack in PDF format. Hover over the image below to see a range of resources on Payment by Results.

You can also watch a series of video interviews with a range of commissioners, providers and PbR experts on my YouTube channel. The document is organised into a number of sections:

  • General government PbR documents
  • Ministry of Justice PbR documents
  • Substance misuse PbR documents
  • Social Investment – paying for PbR
  • Views, reviews and discussion about PbR from independent commentators; now including blogs.
  • Examples of PbR funded projects
  • Key organisations

I have written an ebook on the 10 Commandments of Payment by Results which you can buy here for £4 – ALL proceeds to the Howard League for Penal Reform. In my view, the most useful of all these resources is the Audit Commission report published 5 April 2012 which enshrines 5 key principles for commissioning PbR schemes. I did a series of posts on this report which have been collated into a short commentary available online: Click to launch the full edition in a new window Another key document is the Institute for Government’s detailed analysis of how Government currently struggles to manage outsourced contracts (18 July 2013)

General government documents

The Department for International Development published their PbR strategy (26 June 2014)

12 Principles for PbR in International Development (DFID September 2014)

Designing and delivering a PbR Programme (DFID September 2014)

DCLG (2012) Financial Framework for the Troubled Families PbR Scheme

Audit Commission (2012) Local payment by results HM Government (2011)

Growing the social investment market: a vision and strategy Cabinet office (2010)

Modernising commissioning: Increasing the role of charities, social enterprises, mutuals and cooperatives in public service delivery


Ministry of Justice

MoJ announced its preferred bidders to deliver the new Transforming Rehabilitation PbR contracts on 29 October 2014.

MoJ published findings from first cohort of prisoners released from the Peterborough and Doncaster PbR pilots (7 August 2014)

MoJ published interim reconviction results from the prison PbR pilots (18 June 2013)

MoJ published “Straw Man” its proposed PbR payment mechanism for new reducing re-offending contracts (3 June 2013)

Ministry of Justice (2013) set out its timescale for transforming rehabilitation on 9 May 2013.

Ministry of Justice launched its Justice data lab to enable voluntary sector to get evidence about re-offending rates of their services (2 April 2013)

Ministry of Justice (2013) Transforming rehabilitation – consultation on the future of the probation service with re-offending interventions commissioned on a PbR basis I have curated a collection of over 300 responses to the transforming rehabilitation consultation

Ministry of Justice (2012) Findings and lessons learned from the early implementation of the HMP Doncaster payment by results pilot (29 November 2012)

Ministry of Justice (2011) Business plan 2011 – 2015 – contains details of the PbR pilots

Ministry of Justice (2010) Breaking the cycle: effective punishments, rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders – sets out the MoJ concept of PbR.

Ministry of Justice (2011) Breaking the cycle: Government response – makes clear that the government wants to build rapidly on PbR pilots.

Ministry of Justice (2011) Prisons competition outcome – at HMP Doncaster, Serco will operate the first of the new payment by results pilots with a part of their income dependent on reducing reoffending on release. There are also a number of pilots run by the Youth Justice Board aimed at reducing the number of bed nights in secure accommodation.

Substance Misuse

Example of a successful smoking cessation PbR scheme evaluated by GHK (February 2012, added 2 October 2013)

Interesting post from Steve Broome, Director of Research at the RSA who leads on their Recovery Project on the difficulties of unpicking the PbR effect on Recovery (31st July 2013)

The preliminary outcome data from the recovery pilots has been published by the DoH – mixed performance, to say the least. But much too early to say. (21 May 2013)

Detailed report from Social Finance – “Enabling long term recovery from addiction” setting out their views on outcome metrics for recovery. (2 November 2012)

Final outcome definitions for PbR drugs recovery from the co–design group. (Updated version 7 September 2012)

Lessons learnt from co-design of drug recovery PbR pilots (17 July 2012)

Very useful detailed information for professionals on Enfield Drug Recovery pilot.

How will the drug treatment sector adapt to PbR? Article on pilots in Drink and Drug News  (June 2012)

Presentations from 7 out of 8 PbR Drug and Alcohol Recovery Pilots on DoH site (28/5/12)

Article on PbR Drug and alcohol recovery pilots in Drink and Drug News (7 May 2012)

New PbR online bulletin from DoH on drug and alcohol recovery pilots (26 April 2012)

Drug and alcohol recovery PbR pilots will be evaluated by University of Manchester. Details of evaluation here. (8 December 2011)

Additional supporting materials from the PbR drugs and alcohol pilots from the Department of Health.

Recovery Partnership briefing for the inter-ministerial group on drug policy (September 2011).

Home Office PowerPoint on how drug recovery PbR should focus on DIP cohorts in terms of offending outcomes (September 2011)

See a response from Drugscope and the UK Drug Police Commission and another from Adfam.

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse information on PbR pilots.

Information about the National Alcohol Treatment PbR pilots can be found on the Alcohol Learning Centre website.

Work Programme

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published its latest report on the Work Programme on 6 November 2014. The programme was considered to be improving but failing to reach hard to help job seekers.

Two new DWP studies on the Work Programme were published on 25 June 2013:

  1. Procurement, supply chains and implementation of the commissioning model
  2. Findings from the first phase of qualitative research on programme delivery (in which the issue of Creaming and Parking is dodged)

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee published a new report which says that the Work Programme is unlikely to help the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed people. (21 May 2013)

Drugscope analyses the impact of the Work Programme for drug and alcohol users (21 May 2013)

Article by Martin Bright in the Guardian on the moral dilemmas and personal discomfort of staff who feel they are treating job seekers as commodities to achieve PbR targets in the Work Programme. (16 April 2013)

Official DWP evaluation by Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion: Procurement, supply chains and implementation of the commissioning model (21 March 2013)

A study by the Third Sector Research Centre found that gaming and parking, in particular, were rife in Work Programme delivery and that position in the supply chain, rather than sector, is a key determinant of providers’ success. (19 February 2013)

Work Programme Evaluation: Findings from the first phase of qualitative research on programme Delivery carried out by Institute for Employment Studies,Social Policy Research Unit at University of York & National Institute of Economic and Social Research. (December 2012).

Article by Prof Roy Sainsbury (one of the authors) in Guardian suggests some “creaming & parking” 10 January 2013.

We finally have the first outcomes from the Work Programme (27 November 2012).

The most authoritative analysis has been undertaken by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (28 November 2012)


Social Investment

The Big Lottery Funded published “Social Impact Bonds – the State of Play” on 28 November 2014.

The DCLG published its Qualitative Evaluation of the London Homelessness Social Impact Bond (first interim report) on 2 September 2014

The Cabinet Office has published a unit cost database on its Centre for Social Impact Bonds website to enable people to construct Social Impact Bonds based on accurate costs. (13 February 2014)

Great interactive map of all the Social Impact Bonds across the globe from Instiglio (31 October 2013)

Interesting analysis of whether Social Impact Bonds will become a mainstream method of funding public services from the Social Market Foundation (31 July 2013)

Very detailed and interesting piece on Greater London Authority Homelessness work done by St Mungo’s via Social Impact Bond/PbR in Green Futures (1 July 2013)

Caroline Fiennes, Director of Giving Evidence, unpicks the HMP Peterborough SIB to ask what it really will – and won’t – tell us (3 April 2013)

Provider’s viewpoint on developing a Social Impact Bond from the Children’s Society (January 2013)

New guide from Social Finance advising councils on how to develop a Social Impact Bond (15 January 2013)

New publication from Social Finance on Payment by Results in the Youth Sector (31 October 2012)

The Charities Aid Foundation: Using social investment to support payment by results (September 2012)

The MoJ published an independent assessment of the propensity score matching methodology used to establish the measurement cohorts for the Peterborough SIB.

Great set of resources around Social Impact Bonds in the US from Non Profit Finance Fund

Big Society Capital collates research on social investment on its website

Social Finance Blog on the launch of Big Society Capital – £600m fund for Big Society projects.

The Center for American Progress now has a section of its website dedicated to Social Impact Bonds.

Nice short interview by Jo Tura with Margaret Lee, Head of Finance at Essex County Council, about their approach to finding investors in their Social Impact Bond.

Sarah Hayes writes for the Guardian Professional: Social impact bonds and small organisations – solution or nemesis? She argues that small voluntary sector organisations should collaborate to challenge funding regimes. 15 February 2012.

Non Profit Finance Fund’s  Pay for success reading list CBI guide to public procurement, advocating the use of a PbR approach (12 December 2011)

A new guide to commissioning social impact bonds from Social Finance (24 November 2011).

Social Investment Manual from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (in English). This manual provides social investors with a comprehensive yet easy to use guidebook on how to develop successful relationships with social investors.

A guide to social investment for charities. New Philanthropy Capital sets out the risks and opportunities of social investment.

What social impact bonds mean for nonprofits and performance measurement. Social Impact Bonds in the USA by rootCAUSE

Social Impact Bond or loan? Essex Council considers the options, reported in Children and Young People Now (1 November 2011)

Excellent long piece examining pros and cons of SIBs in Third Sector (1 November 2011)

Scope is first UK charity to launch a bond programme reported by Third Sector (31 October 2011)

Views, reviews etc

The Revolving Doors Agency has published a valuable briefing on the pros and cons of using PbR when working with people with complex needs (5 February 2015)

Community Links report summarises their experience of PbR in the worklessness sector (January 2015)

NCVO report finds that PbR is hampering public service innovation (24 April 2014)

Tom Gash of the Institute for Government writes in the Guardian: Payment by results fails to encourage smaller suppliers to bid for contracts

Recent National Audit Office reports have criticised both the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department of Work and Pensions for not understanding the risk of PbR – article in Supply Management (12 December 2013)

Professor Carol Hedderman: PbR – Hopes, Fears and Evidence in BJCJ Winter 2013 edition.

Update on the Youth Justice Custody reduction pathfinder PbR pilot finds 2 out of 4 areas very successful, 2 not at all. Children & Young People Now (18 November 2013)

Jak Tompsett says PbR contracts is driving more Housing Associations to deliver employability outcomes in-house (18 November 2013)

Excellent new report on PbR from voluntary sector perspective from NCVO & BWB (30 October 2013)

Fascinating/terrifying blog post by RSA Chief Exec Matthew Taylor on whether PbR will reveal that nothing works and leads to disinvestment in public services.

Interesting article on Jim Clifford’s payment by results scheme to drive up the adoption of older children (17 July 2013)

Good article from Age Concern on how commissioners find it hard to allow the discretion/Black Box approach on which PbR is founded (9 July 2013)

Interesting piece by Impetus Trust on the Treasury’s ambivalent attitude to PbR (9 May 2013)

Great piece by RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor on payment by results and probation (9 May 2013)

Report by Sitra compares payment by results schemes across different areas of public service. (8 May 2013) Adrian Brown of Boston Consulting says PbR is in danger of being a fad and that it requires handling with caution to be effective (6 March 2013)

Report on PbR in the Children & Families’ sector by the Children’s Society and Family & Parenting Institute (February 2013)

Report on PbR and Re-offending from the Policy Exchange: Expanding Payment-by-Results: Strategic choices and recommendations (5 February 2013)

Frances Cook, Chief Exec of the Howard League is particularly concerned about the introduction of PbR contracts affecting women offenders. (1 February 2013)

Toby Lowe has a strong anti-PbR piece on the Guardian local government network (1 February 2013)

NCVO asks if PbR is the best way to trigger innovation. (17 January 2013)

Toby Eccles from Social Finance argues that we should change the balance of public expenditure spent on imprisonment and rehabilitation by adopting PbR.

The dangers of payment by results in probation. Sonia Sodha with a coherent critique of the main PbR challenges in the New Statesman (9 January 2013)

Payment by results: Risk and Reward. Natasha Newson of 3SC provides an accurate analysis of the current state of play: “trial and error” (18 December 2012).

The voluntary sector needs to engage with PbR. Shivaji Shiva and Simon Lee in Guardian Voluntary Sector Network Finance Hub (18 December 2012)

Concise and well-argued piece by John Tizard on Public Finance on the dangers when PbR becomes a fashion and is applied inappropriately. (3 December 2012)

Six reasons why the DWP’s PbR model constrains innovation. Chris Sherwood of @guerillapolicy on NCVO (22/11/12)

Liam Barrington-Bush argues that PbR is unworkable and should be “scrapped not navigated” in a Guardian voluntary sector network article (22 November 2012)

Entertaining piece on work programme and PbR from Richard Caulfield. (12 November 2012)

Su Maddock from Manchester Business School evaluated the work programme and found that the PbR system delivered financial incentives but was inadequate as a framework for service innovation. (29 August 2012)

Thomas Raymen argues that PbR is not a good fit with desistance in Howard League Bulletin (24 August 2012)

New report from Make Justice Work on PbR and community sentences (20 July 2012)

The Economist says PbR is not a magic bullet (19 July 2012)

Excellent blog on the Troubled Families PbR Scheme from New Philanthropy Capital (11 June 2012)

Andrew Neilson from Prison Reform Trust writes for Public Finance on whether PbR will be a successful approach to reducing re-offending (30 April 2012).

Paper on evaluation of PbR schemes from GHK Consulting

Paul McDowell, NACRO Chief Exec on why the principle of PbR is fine but the payment level must be appropriate. (11 April 2012)

Children’s Society with a very detailed and helpful paper on PbR in families’ sector.

Oliver Letwin sets out the government case for PbR in the Guardian. (29 March 2012)

A great little pictorial introduction to the key concepts of Payment by Results by James Young.

Dan Corry from New Philanthropy Capital on how the focus on outcome payments can increase the risk of fraud in The Dangers of Payment by Results

Dan Finn, Professor of Social Inclusion at the University of Portsmouth, wrote an interesting post on the Work Programme in the context of international research on payment by results employment programmes on the LSE Politics blog.

Kaye Wiggins from Third Sector reports on the realities of charities’ involvement in the work programme.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Exex of the RSA reflects on whether charities should subsidise state PbR contracts

David Boyle “The pitfalls and perils of payment by results” in Local Economy argues that there are aspects of PbR which are likely to skew public sector objectives even more thoroughly than targets.

Reform (Think Tank) publish transcript of rountable discussion with Crispin Blunt et al: “Administering Justice by Results” (5 December 2011)

Ben Jarman & Katie O’Donoghue Desistance and how PbR binary outcomes (‘fact’ of re-offending instead of frequency of offending) may cause significant problems. This is on the Clinks network and you will need to register (at no cost) to read it. (26 November 2011)

Zoe Williams in the Guardian: High profile discussion of public/private prisons and PbR and RSA idea for prisons as social enterprise (5 November 2011)

PbR – High hopes, Big questions. Speculative Blog post from RSA Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor. (October 2011)

Academic article by Chris Fox & Kevin Albertson on PbR and Social Impact Bonds in the criminal justice sector. (You need access to academic journals to read the whole article).

National Association of Youth Justice has produced a critical account of the risks of PbR in provision for vulnerable young people (July 2011)

The Centre for Policy Studies (a conservative think tank) published a briefing (June 2011) which argues that the sole PbR outcome for drug treatment work should be abstinence.

The Drug Sector Partnership (June 2011) published a blog which asks how the views of service users would be taken into account in determining payment by results outcomes.

Jon Collins, director of the Criminal Justice Alliance, published a fair-minded review of PbR in the criminal justice system (April 2011)

The UK Drug Policy Commission has published their briefing on payment by results (February 2011)

James Dicker did a paper on Payment-by-outcome in Offender Management for the 2020 Public Services Trust at the RSA (January 2011)

Clinks did a paper on what PbR means for voluntary sector organisations working with offenders (October 2010)

An interesting article in the Economist looking at PbR the drug treatment.

Linda Harris gives a short account of PbR on the Substance Misuse Management in General Practice website (2011)

Two critical articles by respected Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee. British Tycoons are looking for ways the rich can make money out of the poor (via SIBs): and Who’s in the market for sub-prime behaviour bonds?

Clinks are conducting a survey on attitudes to PbR for Third Sector organisations working in the criminal justice sphere

The Morning Star sees PbR as people trafficking.

Examples of PbR funded projects

There are a growing number of  PbR projects in operation.

DCLG funded 10 PbR Supporting People pilots with the final evaluation published on 10 October 2014 by which time just six pilots were still operating on a PbR basis.

The Department for International Development is funding an education project to encourage completion of secondary education in Ethiopia on a PbR basis (15 Jan 2014)

SITRA produced a brief report describing current PbR schemes across government departments in May 2013.

The ONE service based at Peterborough prison which supports short sentence male prisoners by offering early engagement, through and beyond the gate delivery and proactive, individualised support in the community to address needs and prevent reoffending. This project is funded by a Social Impact Bond. An initial evaluation of the lessons learned at the planning and early implementation stage has been published by the Ministry of Justice. One year progress report of the One service published 30 November 2011. My summary of this report here.

HMP Doncaster (run by SERCO) is now contracted on a PbR model with ten per cent of the prison’s annual revenue dependent on a 5% reduction in reoffending rates. The pilot started on 12 October 2011. See the video article by Prison Director, John Biggin. Further detail also in this interview with John Biggin by The Custodial Review. Initial evaluation (November 2012).

The Youth Justice Board is running a pilot scheme aimed at reducing the number of bed nights in secure accommodation. It now appears that Youth Offending Teams will not be measured on a payment by results approach because it has proved too hard to draw up robust and reliable outcome metrics.

The Office for Civil Society is to ask private and charitable investors to purchase social impact bonds worth up to £40m that will fund new schemes to support “problem families”.

The Greater London Authority has been working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to develop a PbR scheme aimed at 650 rough sleepers which has to be funded via a Social Impact Bond.

Bristol Together is leading a third sector partnership which will purchase and renovate empty properties, employing ex-offenders to do the work – the whole scheme funded by a Social Impact Bond. September 2012 saw the announcement of a PbR funded scheme to remove illegal immigrants. [mks_separator style=”double” height=”2″]

Key organisations

Social Finance is an organisation that develops financial products that marry the ambitions of investors and the social care sector. Social Finance developed the Social Impact Bond which funds the ONE service and has produced a number of very useful guides to developing social impact bonds in the criminal justice and vulnerable children and young people sectors.

The Social Investment Business is  the trading name for Futurebuilders England and provides capital, business support and strategic thinking for ‘civil society’.

The National Centre for Voluntary Organisations has established a PbR working group. Sitra maintains a payment by results section of its website dedicated to PbR, in particular as it affects supporting people projects.

Jane Mansour is an international expert of PbR in a welfare to work context and runs Buying Quality Performance.

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Blogs, Discussion groups etc.

John Wade MD of  Bromford Support is curating a collection of online PbR materials

Nigel Thacker has set up a LinkedIn group on PbR – just log-in and search under groups.

Blog from Social Finance – this is now becoming an active Blog with regular posts, the latest is about maintaining the social integrity of Social Impact Bonds.