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?