Press release

Payment-by-results pilots on track for success

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Promising first results from ground-breaking pilots at Doncaster and Peterborough prisons were welcomed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling today.

The pilot schemes, which are testing a new way of rehabilitating offenders where providers are only paid for results, have shown marked falls in reoffending. This new approach has seen the private, public and voluntary sectors working hand-in-hand to crack the stubborn cycle of reoffending by giving offenders targeted through-the-gate support on release.

Results at Peterborough, where offenders sentenced to less than 12 months are getting unprecedented resettlement support on release, show an 8.4% fall in the number of times offenders are convicted of further offences within a year of release, compared to a national comparison group. These encouraging results put the social investors who are funding the project on course for a payment in 2016.

The rate of reoffending at Peterborough has also reduced by 2.3 percentage points compared to the matched control group rate of 55.7%. If this was replicated across the country it could mean 1,700 fewer reoffences being committed, including 250 fewer violent crimes and more than 600 fewer thefts.

The approach at Doncaster has seen the rate of offenders being convicted of a further offence at court drop by 5.7 percentage points against the 2009 baseline for the prison. The Doncaster scheme, which started in 2011 has already met its target of reducing the rate of reconvictions by 5% and will therefore be paid the full value of the contract for the first year of the pilot.

The results published today are from the first cohorts of each pilot. Both schemes are on course to meet the challenging targets they were set to trigger success payments across the course of the pilots.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

While the same old approach is having barely any impact on our sky-high reoffending rates, which have hardly changed in a decade, these through-the-gate pilots are getting results.

For too long we have released prisoners back onto the streets with £46 in their pockets, and little else, in the hope they would sort themselves out — it’s little wonder things haven’t improved.

The message is clear — our reforms are the right approach and will help us end the depressing cycle of reoffending too many are caught up in, keeping our communities safer.

These results are of particular significance as the government is introducing widespread reforms to the way offenders are rehabilitated to bring down our stubbornly high reoffending rates. A key part of these changes is introducing supervision for prisoners sentenced to less than 12 months in custody, as this group currently gets no support and has the highest reoffending rates, with nearly 60% going back to crime within a year of release.

The reforms will also see private and voluntary sector organisations working in strong new partnerships, making greater use of innovative schemes like mentoring to turn offenders’ lives around. They will work closely with a new and refocused National Probation Service and local partners to protect the public and give complex offenders the support they need to turn their back on crime.

A nationwide network of resettlement prisons is also being created that will see the majority of offenders rehabilitated by the same provider in custody and the community. This will allow people working with offenders to lay the groundwork for rehabilitation behind the prison walls and continue that work in the community when they are released, ensuring a through-the-gate approach to rehabilitation.

Our new approach will mean organisations are only paid in full if they are successful at reducing reoffending, making sure we get best value for the hardworking taxpayer.

Notes to editors:

  1. The HMP Peterborough Social Impact Bond:
    • Launched in 2010, it is the world’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB)
    • Private investors fund through-the-gate support for prisoners sentenced to less than 12 months – whereas outside the pilot this group currently gets no support and has the highest reoffending rates
    • Support begins in prison and continues in the community, with private and voluntary organisations working together to turn round the lives of prolific offenders
    • If the interventions are successful at reducing the number of reconvictions (number of times an offender is convicted of a follow-up offence at court within 12 months) by 7.5% over the course of 2 cohorts, or by 10% over either one of the cohorts (with roughly 1000 offenders per cohort) then a success payment is triggered
    • These targets are extremely challenging in order to protect the public purse and ensure we do not pay for chance outcomes
    • Cohort one results show a fall in the number of reconviction events of 8.4%, therefore the pilot is on track to meet its target over the course of the pilot
  2. The HMP Doncaster payment by results pilot
    • Launched in 2011
    • Offenders (both those serving sentences of less than 12 months and more than 12 months) given an unprecedented level of resettlement support
    • Support begins in prison and continues in the community, with private and voluntary organisations working together to turn round the lives of prolific offenders
    • If the reconviction rate (proportion of offenders who are convicted of a further offence at court within a 12 month follow-up period) is not at least 5 percentage points lower than a baseline of 58% (the rate for December – January 2009 for that prison) then the MoJ reclaim 10 per cent of the contract value. If the reconviction rate is reduced by more than 6 percentage points, additional payments are triggered
    • These targets are extremely challenging in order to protect the public purse and ensure we do not pay for chance outcomes
    • Cohort 1 results show a fall in the reconviction rate by 5.7 percentage points, therefore the providers retain the full contract value
  3. Read the full statistical release.

  4. Cohort 1 of the Peterborough pilot ran from 9 September 2010 to 30 June 2012.

  5. Cohort 1 of the Doncaster pilot ran from 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2012.

  6. For more information contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.