Spend to offend (the outsourcing of probation)

The Ministry of Justice has set out the proposed payment mechanism for the forthcoming “rehabilitation programme” contracts (http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/rehab-prog/payment-mechanism.pdf). The mechanism appears to be a relatively straightforward and robust funding model. However, despite the rhetoric about a “rehabilitation revolution” (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/12-months-supervision-for-all-prisoners-on-release), this is the outsourcing of probation, pure and simple. It has the potential to deliver more … Continue reading

Selling tomorrow

In her last post, Jane talked about how an exclusive focus on cost in the reform of public services is to the detriment of the value of those services. Far from delivering ‘value for money’, a blinkered focus on short-term ‘savings’, and consequent loss of value, may ultimately drive up long-term cost. In the last … Continue reading

The value of nothing

Chris Grayling has described many of his reforms in both employment and justice as “delivering value for money for the taxpayer”. It is difficult, however, to find evidence of the consideration of ‘value’ in recent and planned changes. Instead, as discussions about public services become increasingly polarised, cost and value are conflated. The nuance of … Continue reading

Endemic ‘creaming and parking’ on the Work Programme

(A version of the following piece first appeared on Guardian Comment on the 20th February 2013. In response to a recent research report, the piece returns to themes we have covered before regarding fundamental design flaws in the Work Programme contracts and procurement.) The Third Sector Research Council (TSRC), part-funded by the Cabinet Office, have … Continue reading

Payment model not panacea

I was recently interviewed as part of a series on Payment by Results in public services – you can see the interview here: http://www.russellwebster.com/pbr-is-not-a-panacea-but-can-be-an-effective-payment-model-says-international-work-programme-expert-jane-mansour/

Buying a horse-drawn cart for the West Coast Main Line

It was a brave decision to terminate the franchising of the West Coast Main Line and is indicative of the integrity of our civil service. It is wrong to heap responsibility on the heads of three officials (now suspended from the Department for Transport), who were probably following, with utmost professionalism, a clear process. This … Continue reading

The jubilee jobseekers – the commissioner’s head is on the block

There are clearly questions to be answered by the security company, Close Protection UK, as well as by the charity, Tomorrow’s People, regarding their respective roles in the use of unpaid people on work experience to deliver on a security contract for the weekend’s jubilee celebrations – and in the subsequent failure in their duty … Continue reading

Making the Work Programme work

(An edited version of the following article first appeared in The Guardian on 7th February 2012.) The contracts for the Work Programme were competed on price. That is, would-be providers were invited to say how cheaply they could do it, and the cheapest were then awarded the most contracts. Unfortunately, this entirely misses the point. … Continue reading