Phase 3 - Contract

3.2 Write contractual outcomes definitions

Writing up the details – even looking at some real-life data to sanity-check the outcome definitions – can save confusion and surprise at delivery stage. Even where a Rate Card has been published, the details can be far from settled.

We have found that, in dealing with real people, it can be very hard to apply a consistent outcome definition. Whilst outcomes are supposed to be objective, they often require a judgement call – and this has sometimes been reported as a case of conscience versus profitability. It’s sensible for all parties to avoid this kind of ambiguity in a SIB contract, by stress-testing these definitions before signing.

The complexity of a single outcome

The Innovation Fund Rate Card listed as its first outcome ‘Improved behavior at school’, at a rate of £800. This example shows the kinds of questions needed to stress test each outcome before it is enshrined in contract:

  • Who is considered acceptable as a ‘verifier’ (someone who could sign a letter or claim form to certify that this improvement has taken place)? Where, when and how often will they have capacity to sign, and will this affect cashflow?

  • What evidence does the ‘verifier’ themselves need to have seen? (For example, a decrease in behavior “markers” awarded at school? A decrease in detentions?).

  • What percentage constitutes a significant decrease?

  • Does the same system apply to all delivery sites (for example, schools)? How can this be standardized?

  • Over what period of time does the improvement need to be seen? What if a young person’s behaviour fluctuates or deteriorates again after the period of the outcome definition?

Next: 3.3 Consider partnering with others to deliver