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Tags are what WordPress calls is keywords. I attach a small number of tags to every post to help people navigate between content with the same keywords. Tags may be people (David Gauke say), organisations (The Howard League, Revolving Doors Agency), themes (women offenders, homelessness) or specific items (heroin, cocaine, ROTL). If you’re looking to research a particular issue, they can be invaluable.

On Probation

The role of tagging in offender management

Advocates of tagging typically advanced the cost effectiveness argument where they compare the cost of tagging – according to the Reform report somewhere between £8 to £16 per day for the new GPS tags – with the average cost of the prison place of approximately £73.

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Commissioning

Can we change public service markets for good?

We have to join up commissioning much better for this last group of people. So, should a homeless, unemployed drug dependent offender have one provider to deal with all their problems in the round, or separate providers (all specialists) responsible for each End Result? Reform suggests two possible solutions:

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Commissioning

Stop commissioning, start licensing public services

The idea is to let public services work like any other market with consumer choice meaning that the best services get to be market leaders and the market changes over time. To achieve this, Reform suggest doing away with the cumbersome procurement approach and introduce a licensing approach with these key features:

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Commissioning

An inflexible commissioning system

Another consequence of these lengthy monolithic contracts is that it is very difficult for governments to change policy direction. Reform makes the point that to implement change a new government will often have to compensate existing providers and institute new, lengthy and expensive procurement processes. Although old providers may get some compensation, all potential

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Commissioning

Price setting in public markets

Reform argues that there is a bell curve to innovation. When prices are set too high, providers make easy profits and public money is wasted. But setting prices aggressively low means that new providers are unable to innovate and tend to focus on easy to achieve results, which might not even have required a government funded intervention in the first place.

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Commissioning

There’s not enough choice in public services

This then creates the problem of a provider who is ‘too big to fail’. If a provider under-performs, the government may not be able to remove them due to the difficulty of replacing lost capacity, undermining the threat of sanctions written into contracts.

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Commissioning

Why can’t we join up commissioning?

A prime example of this is the government’s radical overhaul of the probation service – “Transforming Rehabilitation” – where new (mainly private) providers will require the active cooperation of a wide range of other agencies such as drug treatment providers etc. to reduce reoffending. Some of the new providers have already stated that they do not wish to spend any of their contract revenue on this provision but expect other agencies to provide high quality services to offenders without any additional incentives.

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