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The geek shall inherit the earth? Capacity and capability to commission and deliver Payment by Results services in the United Kingdom

Kevin Wong
74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith ACT - FREE EVENT
11:00am-12:00pm 2 October 2013

Kevin Wong

Since coming to power in May 2010, the UK Coalition Government of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have forged ahead with Payment by Results (PbR) commissioning of criminal justice services. Four pilot PbR schemes were commissioned 2010 and 2011, two in the community and two in prisons in England.  To date only one of these four schemes have completed - at the end of June 2013.  In May 2013 the Ministry of Justice announced plans for the wholesale commissioning of community based offender management services across England and Wales through PbR. 

In a period of unprecedented reductions in public sector expenditure in the UK, PbR appears to offer a way of commissioning more services for the same (cost) or even more services for less. It is easy it see why PbR has become attractive to the cash strapped UK Government. Proponents of PbR commissioning in the UK have argued that it will benefit commissioners by transferring risk from the commissioner to the service provider and in so doing incentivise the provider to deliver more cost effective services, i.e. better outcomes at the same or reduced cost.

For service providers, the proposed benefits are firstly that service providers are free of bureaucracy and micro-management by commissioners – instead they are able to focus on delivering better services. Secondly, they will have the freedom to innovate, freed from constraints on how to deliver; and thirdly, PbR will provide opportunities for new market entrants from the private and voluntary and community sectors.

Drawing on evidence from the four UK pilots this briefing/presentation will examine the extent to which the benefits of PbR have been realised and what lessons can be learned for the wider application of PbR in the criminal justice system.


Kevin Wong is Deputy Director of the Hallam Centre for Community Justice, Sheffield Hallam University

Kevin Wong joined the Hallam Centre for Community Justice (HCCJ) in 2010 as the Deputy Director. He has extensive experience of leading multi-site evaluation and research projects across the criminal justice system and specifically in relation to the multi-agency management of offenders and Payment by Results. Most recently, he has managed multi-site research projects commissioned by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice including Local Justice Reinvestment PbR Pilot, Youth Justice Reinvestment Pathfinder PbR pilot, Building Voluntary and Community Sector capacity in Integrated Offender Management, the National five site process evaluation of the Intensive Alternatives to Custody (IAC) pilot program and Cost comparison analysis of Layered Offender Management and Tiering in Prison.

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