Evaluation of the Employment and Reoffending Pilot

The Employment and Reoffending Pilot, linked to the Work Programme, was co-commissioned by MoJ and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It aims to test the impact of offering Work Programme providers financial incentives linked to reductions in reoffending rates on provider behaviour using a payment by results model. The pilot also aims to further develop the evidence base around the complex relationship between employment and reoffending, and to test whether joint commissioning between MoJ and DWP can increase the chances of offenders reducing reoffending and finding sustainable employment. Its specific focus is offenders released from short prison sentences (i.e. those lasting 12 months or less).

The evaluation draws out lessons learned from the pilot design, development, implementation and delivery, providing valuable learning to inform the implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) strategy. This report contains findings from the set-up and first six months of operation of the pilot.

The report demonstrates broad-ranging support for increasing services for short-sentence prison leavers, and highlights the need for the development of a nationwide network of resettlement prisons to help co-ordinate resettlement services, both of which are being introduced as part of TR.

Particular lessons emerging so far for the introduction of PbR models into the criminal justice sphere include the value of effective information flows and partnership working between all the providers and agencies involved in rehabilitating offenders. Lessons for co-commissioning services across departments include the importance of clear joint governance structures and a sound understanding of the other department’s priorities and commissioning protocols.