PAYMENT BY RESULTS a personal view
Welcome to payment by results, a system whereby private companies undertake to complete a task, within the justice system, for which they will only receive payment if they achieve results.
Firstly this looks just like an existing system in new clothes. Some years ago it was decided that senior managers were not running prisons properly. KEY PERFORMANCE TARGETS were born. This method, much like payment by results, expected that certain targets were met before the government released money for the prison to operate for another year. The devil is always in the detail.
Mandatory Drug Testing is the system that chooses prisoners at random to be vigorously tested for drugs in their system. Drugs in prison are a problem so it was decided to use the KPT system to reduce drugs in prison. The powers that be set a target of no more than 10% of prisoners failing an MDT as a KPT.
Pay attention at the back.
May I introduce “Old Fred”. He is not a real person but he represents a type of prisoner found in every establishment. “Old Fred” hates drugs and everything about them so naturally he and his like are tested for drugs fairly regularly under the MDT system and the prison meets its 10% KPT and gets paid for another year. You’re shocked? Get over it, things get much worse.
Managers are now aware that the most important thing they can do with their day is to chase KPT’s and ensure that the prison gets money for next year. Is there a cost? Yes, these managers should be running the prison not scribbling rubbish on dry marker boards but who cares about running a prison … We’re meeting our KPT’s what can possibly go wrong?
Buckets and Mops
A colour code is used for mops and buckets, green, blue and red equipment ensures that a toilet mop will never be used in a food prep area. Perfect sense.
Some idiot decided that a Key Performance Target would be that only red mops would be stored in red cupboards, blue in blue, green in green etc.
Now may I introduce you to the bizarre world of Stores. The first thing a stores manager ever said to me was “Stores are for storing, not for issuing”. The most wonderful thing a stores manager ever said to me was “we ordered 100 red mops, 100 blue mops and 100 green mops but we received 300 green mops, you’ll have to get on”. Next day a clipboard appeared at the wing gate and standing behind it was a Governor. He saw Green mops in the toilet areas, green mops in the kitchen areas and green mops on the wing floor. He exploded and had a small emotional meltdown. Ten cons tried to stifle laughter and KPT’s destroyed what little credibility that man had.
Payment by results and KPT’s are an admission that the world is a complex place, far too complex for most of us but rather than do nothing…. we’ll do something odd.