Keep up-to-date with drugs and crime

The latest research, policy, practice and opinion on our criminal justice and drug & alcohol treatment systems


This section of the literature review contains studies which focus on payment by results interventions in the criminal justice sector.

The Ministry of Justice’s contracts with the 21 new Community Rehabilitation Companies (who supervise low and medium risk offenders) under the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme are worth £3.15bn over 7 years.

For each study, I provide the full reference, a link to the document if available freely online and a one sentence summary.

Studies are presented in order of publication; most recent first.

Studies which I regard as of high quality or of particular interest are highlighted in bold.

I would also like to draw readers’ attention to a successful PbR initiative in the youth justice field which resulted in a dramatic reduction in the use of custody for young offenders in West Yorkshire, although I am not aware of any published evaluation.

You can jump to the seven other sections of research here:


MoJ (2015b) Annex A Interim reconviction figures for Peterborough payment by results pilot. London: MoJ Statistics Bulletin 29 October 2015.

Latest set of reoffending outcomes but no comparison with matched cohort, so hard to assess the outcomes. My summary here.

Wong, K. Ellingworth, D. & Meadows, L. (2015) Local Justice Reinvestment Pilot: final process evaluation report. Ministry of Justice Analytical Series.

This report finds successes and failures across the 6 pilot sites but frustratingly lacks detail on 2nd year of operation, despite being final report.

MoJ (2015) Proven re-offending statistics quarterly bulletin July 2012- June 2013. London: MoJ Statistics Bulletin. Annex A provides interim reconviction figures for Peterborough and Doncaster PbR pilots. My summary here

Latest results very disappointing.

Pearce, S. et al. (2015) HMP Doncaster payment by results pilot: final process evaluation report. London: Ministry of Justice Analytical Series.

Identifies strengths and weaknesses, concerns that binary reoffending outcome measure was not appropriate. See my summary here.

MoJ (2014) Peterborough Social Impact Bond, HMP Doncaster: Payment by results pilots. Final re-conviction results for cohorts 1. London: MoJ Statistics Bulletin. My summary here.

Mixed results with Peterborough prison faring better than HMP Doncaster.

Hedderman, C. (2013) Payment by Results: Hopes, fears and evidence. British Journal of Community Justice, Vol.11 (2-3).

Professor Hedderman questions whether the MoJ have sufficient evidence to commission the new probation system via a PbR approach.

Policy Exchange (2013) Expanding Payment-by-Results: Strategic choices and recommendations. London: Policy Exchange. My summary here.

Strong political argument for PbR, stressing the link with privatisation and focusing on Transforming Rehabilitation.

Fox, C. & Albertson, K. (2012) Is payment by results the most efficient way to address the challenges faced by the criminal justice sector? Probation Journal 59(4) 355-373

Assesses the suitability of PbR for the justice sector and encourages consideration of justice reinvestment and personalisation as other commissioning approaches.

Make Justice Work (2012) Just Results: payment by results and community sentencing.

Useful list of 9 principles and 3 concerns around applying PbR to community sentences. See my summary here.

Fox,C. & Albertson, K. (2011) Payment by results and social impact bonds in the criminal justice sector: New challenges the concept of evidence-based policy? Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Looks at difficulties in applying PbR to reoffending, hard to make, for example, Through The Gate schemes sufficiently attractive to those wanting to invest in Social Impact Bonds.

Reform (2011) Administering justice by results: Reform roundtable with Crispin Blunt MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prisons and Probation.

Recommends that is critical to learn from pilots (which were ended early) and incentivise providers to work with harder cases.

National Association of Youth Justice (2011) Payment by results and youth justice system

Position paper claiming case for PbR not made and expressing concerns that PbR would cause problems to the system by making partners compete with each other.

Clinks (2010) Payment by results: what does it mean for voluntary organisations working with offenders?

Looks ahead to TR and identifies some of the key debating points: how should reoffending be measured and compared with what?

Frontier Economics (2009) St Giles Trust’s Through the Prison Gate: an analysis of economic impact, London: Pro Bono Economics.

Impact evaluation of the Through-The-Gate model adopted by Transforming Rehabilitation found that the intervention realised £10 savings for every £1 invested.

Privacy Preference Center


Get every blog post by email for free