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      Social Impact Bonds: The Role of Private Capital in Outcome-Based Commissioning

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      Journal of Social Policy

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          Social impact bonds are payment by results contracts that leverage private social investment to cover the up-front expenditure associated with welfare services. The introduction of private principles and actors through outcome-based commissioning has received a great deal of attention in social policy research. However, there has been much less attention given to the introduction of private capital and its relation to more established forms of quasi-marketisation. This paper examines what effect private social investment has on outcome-based commissioning and whether the alternative forms of performance measurement and management, that social impact bonds bring to bear on service operations, demonstrate the capacity to engender: innovation in service delivery; improved social outcomes; future cost savings; and additionality. This paper draws on an in-depth study of four social impact bonds in the UK context, as the welfare regime at the vanguard of this policy development. The findings suggest that the introduction of private capital in outcome-based commissioning has had a number of unique and unintended effects on service providers, operations and outcomes. The paper concludes by considering whether social impact bonds represent a risk or an opportunity for public service reform both in the UK and further afield.

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          Is Open Access

          Creaming and Parking in Quasi-Marketised Welfare-to-Work Schemes: Designed Out Of or Designed In to the UK Work Programme?

          ‘Creaming’ and ‘parking’ are endemic concerns within quasi-marketised welfare-to-work (WTW) systems internationally, and the UK's flagship Work Programme for the long-term unemployed is something of an international pioneer of WTW delivery, based on outsourcing, payment by results and provider flexibility. In the Work Programme design, providers’ incentives to ‘cream’ and ‘park’ differently positioned claimants are intended to be mitigated through the existence of nine payment groups (based on claimants' prior benefit type) into which different claimants are allocated and across which job outcome payments for providers differ. Evaluation evidence suggests however that ‘creaming’ and ‘parking’ practices remain common. This paper offers original quantitative insights into the extent of claimant variation within these payment groups, which, contrary to the government's intention, seem more likely to design in rather than design out ‘creaming’ and ‘parking’. In response, a statistical approach to differential payment setting is explored and is shown to be a viable and more effective way to design a set of alternative and empirically grounded payment groups, offering greater predictive power and value-for-money than is the case in the current Work Programme design.
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            Payment by results and social impact bonds in the criminal justice sector: New challenges for the concept of evidence-based policy?

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              Quasi-Markets and Service Delivery Flexibility Following a Decade of Employment Assistance Reform in Australia

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Journal of Social Policy
                J. Soc. Pol.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0047-2794
                1469-7823
                January 2018
                April 4 2017
                : 47
                : 01
                : 57-76
                Article
                10.1017/S0047279417000125
                © 2017

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