Payment By Results: Will it deliver for families?
Voluntary Sector needs to help ensure that Payment by Results does not threaten the existence of core services for vulnerable families says a new briefing paper launched today by the Family and Parenting Institute in partnership with The Children’s Society.
The briefing paper highlights the importance of voluntary sector organisations engaging in the latest developments around Payment By Results (PbR) – a way of funding services on the basis of the results they achieve, rather than on the cost of the activities or outputs they deliver – currently being explored in relation to work with children’s centres and troubled families.
The paper highlights some of the main issues and opportunities associated with PbR including issues around the timing of ‘payment’; the need to avoid services cherry-picking those who are easiest to reach; and issues around the sharing of data between different services.
“PbR alone will not achieve positive outcomes for families but could help drive new approaches and innovation” commented Peter Grigg, FPI’s Director of Research and Policy. “However, it is also clear that the pace around these reforms means voluntary sector organisations should do all they can to influence decisions being made right now.”
The briefing paper proposes some key principles for the future development of PbR with families:
- PbR must not threaten the existence of core statutory, universal services for families. Where services ‘fail’ this should not harm the provision of services to vulnerable groups.
- There must be widespread commitment to investing in outcomes not outputs – developing outcomes for individual services and “whole families” will take time
- PbR may be inappropriate in some settings and inappropriate outcomes must not be forced on on families because of the premium related with achieving outcomes.
The briefing paper also goes on to propose a series of recommendations to develop future thinking about PbR including:
- Establishing forums to ensure the Voluntary and Community Sector approach PbR in an active, but challenging way. This would enable to VCS to speak with a co-ordinated voice on how to avoid the ‘cream skimming’ of users who are easier to reach, and how decision makers in local government and central government can be best informed
- Creating mechanisms, like the Social Investment Bank, to ensure that financial security is available to voluntary sector and small, local providers who may be affected by timings of payments, lack of seed funding for new services, and the lapse in time between providing the service and observing an outcome.
- Establishing a single accountable role for Payment by Results in each Local Authority to ensure oversight on the overlap across different PbR approaches being adopted – for example across vulnerable families and children’s centres and into health and anti-social behaviour initiatives.
To read the briefing paper in full, click here.