Once the SIB is in the delivery phase, it will take extensive administrative work to demonstrate that outcomes have been achieved so that payments can be claimed. This work will usually fall to delivery staff, in cooperation with their managers, and perhaps an external performance management resource.
The whole organisation therefore needs to buy into the process required to evidence the outcomes (as well, of course, as the process required to achieve the outcomes). Planning a SIB without this collective buy-in runs the risk of an ‘us-and-them’ divide developing:
Some providers have had success with involving their delivery team as early as the bidding and negotiating process. A deep understanding of the SIB mechanism can help stem mistrust and improve cooperation.
To get everyone on board during the preparation phase, show full commitment to the opportunity, and train staff about the new challenge. Prepare them for the experience they’ll have, and the benefit it will bring to the organisation in the medium and long-term.
Embedding outcomes in the day job
At some stage, all members of staff will need to understand the outcomes required for payment, so that they can map out their objectives and develop work plans to achieve them. Delivery and management teams should work closely together in setting objectives and developing a shared understanding of the importance of being outcome-focused.
The objective setting process maps how staff, working with beneficiaries, will deliver the outcomes required to achieve the programme’s mission. To humanise the financial outcomes and avoid a criticism that the focus is just on ‘ticking boxes’ to get the payments, all team members need to internalise the connection between quantitative outcomes (such as a qualification that a young person has achieved) and perhaps more qualitative results (for example, developing a supportive relationship with a mentor). With an aligned approach, it becomes clear that everyone is working together toward the same goal of serving programme beneficiaries in the best way possible.
Make sure that the objectives and work plans allow some flexibility. After all, every participant is unique, and many variables can influence results. Especially for a new programme, it may take time before you can predict the rate at which the participants achieve the outcomes.
Case study: ThinkForward
At ThinkForward, to support delivery staff in setting and achieving objectives, we set up a ‘team around the coach’: the coach’s line manager, a data manager, and a colleague who organised education and employment related activities for young people on the programme.
Meeting regularly, this support team would make sure that everyone understood the steps needed to deliver the outcomes. Coaches presented dashboards on where things stood with their young people and worked with the team to set milestones and put trackers in place to assess how they were doing against their objectives.
These meetings provided an opportunity to identify over and under-performance, so that the team could celebrate successes and address any issues. Coaches could take the opportunity to ask the team for the support they needed to meet their objectives.
In Phase 4 (Delivery), we cover performance management. You’ll need to decide whether to carry out data and performance management in-house, outsource it or partner with an organisation that can provide limited support, so it’s worth thinking about this now, in the development phase.
SIB Project Plan
Contributed by Numbers for Good
This is a template plan for developing a SIB, in Gantt Chart format with a Red/Amber/Green/Blue status column to help you track progress. The tasks, people and timescales can all be customised, by agreement with your project team. This should help with objectives and resource planning.