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Payment by Results

28% released prisoners have benefits removed

Disappointingly, and somewhat bizarrely, the evaluation was not able to provide information on the core outcome of whether released prisoners were helped to find work by the Work Programme, apparently because the DWP did not require providers to provide separate statistics for this group.

On Probation

Justice Committee on creating a probation market

The Committee expressed reservations that the MoJ would be able to run an effective competition process with the required level of transparency. It noted that a number of significant components of the programme had not been finalised. This issue was related to one of the Committee’s overall findings that the whole TR programme is being implemented too fast and without sufficient consideration and, where appropriate, piloting.

Payment by Results

Payment by results and the Work Programme

Work Programme providers are still not hitting their targets. The worse performers are being penalised by losing market share to their better performing rivals. This direct competition is a feature that the DWP deliberately built into its payment by results model…

On Probation

Principles of Competition for Transforming Rehabilitation

When the MoJ lit the fuse on the Transforming Rehabilitation procurement process last week, it also published a “Principles of Competition” document. The document is divided into two parts: Competition Fairness and Market Management…

Commissioning

What can Transforming Rehabilitation learn from the Work Programme?

Once again, the intensely party political shaping of public policy makes for uncomfortable results. It takes a politician with the drive and uncompromising approach of Chris Grayling to effect change within a five year cycle. But there is not sufficient time to establish a properly thought-through model which has a decent chance of delivering improved public services. In some ways Transforming Rehabilitation crystallises this problem – the payment by results pilots were cancelled in order to focus on a rapid roll-out of a completely untested model.

Payment by Results

The 8th Commandment of Payment by Results: Thou shalt share the fruits of thy labours

By focusing on outcomes, commissioners allow providers to design the service in any which way they choose – safe in the knowledge that they will only have to pay out if that service is successful. This “Black Box” approach has become increasingly contentious since the advent of the Work Programme and the introduction of large private companies into the delivery of public services. One of the key reason underlying the choice of the Work Programme contract areas was the desire to introduce direct competition between providers…

Payment by Results

The 7th Commandment of Payment by Results: Thou shalt promote innovation

Payment by results is supposed to be all about innovation. The central idea of PbR is that commissioners set their outcomes and only pay up if the provider achieves them. This leaves providers free to deliver the service in any way they see fit.
The freedom from constant monitoring and reporting on targets, milestones, KPIs etc. enables providers to approach entrenched social problems with new ideas and fresh approaches and also frees up considerable resources currently dedicated to the collection, polishing and submitting of data. But…

Payment by Results

The 6th Commandment of Payment by Results: Profit shall not be thy God

One of the most controversial aspects of payment by results in the UK has been the way the funding model has been used to outsource public services and open the market up to private providers, typically the sort of global companies who deliver the Work Programme. Many people are opposed in principle to the idea of public services generating profit for multinationals. On the other side of the argument are those that see the introduction of business sense and commercial acumen as a key way of reducing cost and driving innovation. But is financial profit the only measure of success?

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.

Payment by Results

The Ten Commandments of Payment by Results

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.

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