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On Probation

Don’t write off probation in the rehabilitation revolution

There have been better times to be a probation officer. It’s not the easiest job in the world at the best of times and, like every other public service, probation trusts have had to implement year-on-year financial cuts for the last few years. But 2013 is the toughest year yet. 70% of probation’s work is being outsourced and a wide range of large private and voluntary sector organisations are seeking to take over the work. Recently the MoJ has acknowledged that probation trusts could spin out public service mutuals and bid for their “own” work.

Payment by Results

The 3rd Commandment of Payment by Results: Thy metrics shall be simple

Complexity is almost always the enemy of effective PbR because it inevitably results in unintended consequences. Concern about possible unintended consequences results in worries about gaming the system which, equally inevitably, results in additional measures being taken to address these concerns which involves further complexity which…, well, you get the picture. In this post, I want to make the case for simple, robust measures to assess how effective PbR schemes are in meeting their outcomes.

Payment by Results

The 2nd Commandment of payment by results: Thy outcomes shall be few

Most payment by results pilot schemes are targeted at entrenched social problems. These problems – troubled families, long term unemployment, re-offending and drug dependency – are complex by nature. They require a coordinated response which addresses a wide range of issues. PbR funded interventions are a natural commissioning approach to tackle complex problems. However, PbR schemes quickly run into trouble when the outcomes themselves become complex.

Payment by Results

1st Commandment of Payment by Results: Thou shalt commission for a single purpose

1st Commandment of Payment by Results: Thou shalt commission for a single purpose. PbR schemes are often sabotaged by trying to achieve too many objectives. The Transforming Rehabilitation project is likely to suffer because it wants to reduce reoffending at the same time as cutting costs, transferring risk and privatising the probation service.

On Probation

Straw Man: The Ministry of Justice’s payment by results mechanism

The Ministry of Justice procurement team yesterday published its proposed payment mechanism for the new reducing reoffending contracts and invited feedback. There are three elements to the payment mechanism: Fee for service; Payment by results and Penalties for underperformance.

On Probation

Who is going to lead the rehabilitation revolution?

I just got back from an interesting roundtable discussion on payment by results and re-offending convened by IPPR. I cam away with two main thoughts. Is there really no alternative to the MoJ’s cumbersome cohort approach to calculating PbR? And who is going to provide on the ground leadership for the rehabilitation revolution in a centrally commissioned model with a much reduced probation service?

On Probation

Crossing the probation Rubicon

The publication of the MoJ’s response to Transforming Rehabilitation last Thursday 9 May has made it almost certain that the plans to overhaul the reducing reoffending system will take place.
By bringing the timeline even further forward, the Secretary of State has built in 6 months’ slippage before next general election.
Even if the Labour Party wins the next election, there is no sign that @SadiqKhan would undo the changes.

On Probation

The Transforming Rehabilitation Timeline

Timeline for the government’s “Transforming Rehabilitation” project which involves the most radical change ever to, and significant privatisation of, the probation service and new focus on short term prisoners.

On Probation

Probation Service Mutuals must get through the phoney war

The dramatic changes proposed for the probation service have yet to receive any detailed planning. Indeed, we still don’t know how many probation trust areas there will be, how many Contract Package Areas and the nature of the relationship between the future statutory probation service with its responsibility for risk and the new providers who will be delivering interventions to reduce re-offending. We are expecting some answers to these questions in the middle of May but …


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