Qualitative study exploring the influence of outcome based contracting in the Provider-Led Pathways to Work

Funded by: Department for Work and Pensions


January 2009 to September 2009

PSI researchers:

Sandra Vegeris

Kathryn Ray

Background, summary and aims

Background, Scope and Aims

Following the introduction of Provider-Led Pathways (PL Pathways to Work) in 15 Jobcentre Plus (JCP) districts in December 2007 (phase 1), and a further 16 JCP districts in April 2008 (phase 2), the national coverage of the Pathways programme is now complete. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) holds outcome-based contracts with Pathways provider organisations. The DWP has commissioned this research focusing specifically upon the influence of outcome-based contracting upon the delivery of PL Pathways, as part of the on-going evaluation of PL Pathways. The aim of the research is to explore how outcome-based contracting is operating within PL Pathways and how this is having an influence on the delivery of the programme and to explore this from numerous perspectives.

Project Design

The methodology will be qualitative in nature and aims to capture the understandings, interpretations and perspectives of the different stakeholders to the programme, including DWP Contract Managers, JCP Third Party Provision Managers, managers and advisers from lead provider organisations and managers from sub-contracted provider organisations. This allows an examination of the implications of outcome-based contracting for the different stakeholders involved and enables the research to capture any potential tensions and contradictions amongst these different stakeholders, which may affect how the programme is delivered. The research methods selected are primarily one-to-one, in-depth interviews.

Importance of Research

Qualitative research in phase 1 areas explored contract management issues as part of the wider evaluation of PL Pathways and suggested a need for greater understanding of the influence of outcome based contracting in PL Pathways. This research project will contribute to greater understanding of the issues around the model and practice of outcome based contracting.

Related publications / project outputs

The Influence of Outcome Based Contracting in Provider-led Pathways to Work. Department for Work and Pensions