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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

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

The Ten Commandments of Payment by Results

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It’s getting increasingly difficult to have a productive debate about payment by results. For many people, PbR is merely shorthand for the privatisation or even a backdoor way of funneling public funds into multinational companies. For others, it is a potentially exciting approach to commissioning public services which can drive innovation and improved performance. But whether you love PbR or hate it, the main reason why it’s difficult to have a meaningful discussion is the lack of any evidence base. This post is my take on 10 critical success factors for PbR.

PbR is everywhere

There are payment by results initiatives across a wide range of government departments including:

  • The Department of Health
  • The Department of  Communities and Local Government
  • The Department of Health
  • The Ministry of Justice
  • The Department of Welfare and Pensions
  • The Department for Education

The UK  Border Agency and the Greater London Authority have also commissioned substantial services via a PbR mechanism.

However, despite all this activity, it’s getting increasingly difficult to have a productive debate about payment by results.

For many people, PbR is merely shorthand for the privatisation of public services or even a backdoor way of funneling public funds into multinational companies.

For others, it is a potentially exciting approach to commissioning public services which can drive innovation and improved performance.

Lack of an evidence base

But whether you love PbR or hate it, the main reason why it’s difficult to have a meaningful discussion is the lack of any evidence base.

It is a very new model of commissioning and we just don’t know yet in what circumstances it is likely to be effective – or counter-productive.

However, there is a steady stream of interim findings from the Work Programme (seen as proof that PbR doesn’t work) and a number of pilots in the criminal justice and substance misuse fields.

I’ve been following the development of PbR in the UK very closely and have developed my list of 10 critical success factors which should shape the development of payment by results schemes.

I’m quietly confident that these “10 Commandments of PbR” will be proved wrong over time, but I think it’s worth sharing them now if only to try and stimulate a more interesting level of debate.

I’ll be dedicating a blog post to each of these 10 over the next few weeks and hope that some of you will use the comments section below to critique them and come up with alternative critical success factors yourselves.

 

infograph 10 commandments

 

I’ll be publishing the posts twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The next post will look at the First Commandment of PbR:

“Thou shalt commission for a single purpose”

 

Browse my comprehensive resource pack on Payment by Results.

Check out my Marmite Infographic for simple explanation of key PbR jargon.

 

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