Rehabilitation works: ensuring Payment by Results cuts reoffending

Chris Nicholson
February 2011

The prison population has increased to over 85,000 and spending on rehabilitation has reached record levels; yet reoffending rates remain stubbornly high in the UK. There is widespread agreement within the coalition government that the country is in need of a 'rehabilitation revolution'. However, rather than government deciding such initiatives centrally, the Ministry of Justice is proposing a much greater role for the private and voluntary sectors. Furthermore, it anticipates that for some groups of offenders providers of rehabilitation services should be paid only to the extent that they are successful in reducing reoffending; Payment by Results (PbR).

Drawing on the commercial experience of the author, 'Rehabilitation Works: ensuring Payment by Results' cuts reoffending assesses the practicalities of implementing a PbR regime for reducing reoffending. How should the system be designed so as to avoid the risk of 'parking and creaming' of clients or offenders? And in what way can it be ensured that a diverse provider base is created, where SMEs and third sector organisations are not priced out of the bidding process? In order for a PbR model to be effective, there must be a diverse provider market and a commercial framework ensuring providers can generate a return whilst also offering the government value for money as a result of the policy. This paper recommends a phased introduction of outcome based payment mechanisms and stresses that the scheme will not be effective if offenders are treated as a single generic group.


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Green growth: how best to promote green investment

February 2011

'Green growth: how best to promote green investment' argues that there may be a case for the proposed Green Investment Bank to invest in the early stage of new green technologies, for industrial policy reasons and to help the financing of particularly large projects such as offshore wind power projects in their development phase. However, CentreForum concludes that the case is not proven for a more extensive role for the Bank including it issuing ‘green bonds’. The report, which reviews the economic case for government intervention to promote green investment, draws on experience from a wide range of European countries.
Other key conclusions are that:
  • A minimum carbon price alone will not lead to the necessary investment in renewables except at a very high cost to the consumer
  • Countries which have been most successful at improving carbon emissions have acted over and above the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to create certain and higher prices for low carbon technology than high carbon technology.
  • Feed in tariffs, whilst more expensive than renewable obligation certificates, have been more successful in promoting investment by creating greater certainty for investors. In view of the speed with which investment is required to meet the EU renewable obligation by 2020 the UK has little choice but to adopt a system of feed in tariffs.
  • Supply side measures, such as a Green Investment Bank, to encourage investment in energy infrastructure are less important than demand side policies such as feed in tariffs.
  • There is evidence that innovations are taking place to remove those imperfections in the financial markets which were inhibiting the financing capacity to meet the UK’s needs. It would be premature for the Green Investment Bank to be given a wide remit and a staged approach as currently proposed by the Coalition Government is the most appropriate.
  • Commenting, Director and Chief Executive of CentreForum, Chris Nicholson said:
    "There is a role for a Green Investment Bank but we are not convinced that there is evidence of a general lack of finance leading to the need for a Green Investment Bank to issue green bonds and act as a fully fledged bank."

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    Safe as houses? Security of tenure for social housing tenants in England

    Tom Gibson with Chris Nicholson
    October 2010
    'Safe as houses? Security of tenure for social housing tenants in England' argues that the Government's plans to restrict security of tenure would change the understanding which has historically been at the heart of social housing, forcing families to move out of their homes and removing tenants who often serve as the 'social glue' which helps bind communities together. Instead it proposes that greater flexibility could be introduced into the existing social housing stock by periodically reassessing the circumstances of social tenants, with those who can afford to do so paying a market rent, with the additional revenue ringfenced for reinvestment in the housing supply.


    Commenting, Chris Nicholson said:
    "Whilst I can understand the Government wishing to ensure best use is made of the social housing stock this is not the way to do it. It risks further concentrating social deprivation on estates and driving out those who are local community leaders. We believe our proposal to increase rents towards market levels for those whose circumstances improve is a fairer approach and one which helps to maintain community cohesion."

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    Britain's points based migration system

    Alasdair Murray
    January 2011

    Over the last two decades the UK has experienced substantial net immigration, sparking a fierce political debate over the perceived economic and social costs and benefits. The outgoing Labour government responded to rising concerns by creating a 'points based migration system' (PBS) for selecting non-EU economic migrants. The system was designed to admit only those perceived as economically beneficial to the UK economy.

    This report examines the operation of the PBS to date. It explores the likely impact of successive government reforms - most recently the migration cap introduced by the Coalition government. It concludes by outlining a number of ways in which the government could restore flexibility to the system and ensure it continues to attract the 'best and the brightest'.

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    Making ends meet: challenges for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review for the United Kingdom

    David Kirkpatrick
    September 2010

    In recent years, a worrying gap has emerged between the military ambitions of the UK armed forces, and the financial resources allocated to them. The gap is likely to widen further in the coming years as the coalition government starts to cut public spending to eliminate the government budget deficit.

    This is the context for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), charged with making recommendations about the UK's future role in world affairs and about the financial resources which that role would require. In practice the SDSR must try to reduce the defence budget without incurring an unacceptable increase in the risks to national security.

    In 'Making ends meet', Professor David Kirkpatrick explains the many particular problems of defence management, and emphasises that the SDSR's recommendations for UK defence policy, military capabilities and defence expenditure must be completely coherent and consistent (unlike those in the 1998 review). He suggests how the UK defence budget might be reduced by 10 per cent, in addition to savings from internal reforms and reorganisation, without the irreversible loss of any of the UK's present military and industrial capabilities.

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