UK Cabinet changes in the wake of the new government means a change in the department responsible for PFS while Australia looks to big data to reduce welfare dependency.
Jim Dunton – CSW
Responsibility for the mutualisation agenda and payment by results has been stripped from the Cabinet Office and handed to the Department for Culture Media and Sport under changes announced by new prime minister Theresa May.
The move is part of the transfer of the Office for Civil Society between the departments, described by May as designed to “integrate OCS’s work to grow a stronger civil society with DCMS’s existing work to enrich lives”.
A Cabinet Office explanatory note confirmed DCMS would now be responsible for “supporting an increase in public service mutuals”; examining how the government can build on innovative ways of delivering high-quality public services; and scaling up social impact bonds and payment-by-results focused on youth unemployment, mental health and homelessness.
Paul Karp – The Guardian
The federal government will pioneer using data analysis to prevent and stop welfare dependency in targeted groups, the social services minister, Christian Porter, said.
The “investment approach” to welfare will identify groups vulnerable to dependency, evaluate bids by organisations that want to deliver programs to help them, and then measure the success of those programs.
The Australian Council of Social Service has warned that although it supports use of data to improve welfare programs, it should not be used as an excuse to cut people off from welfare before they get stable employment.
Porter said the government had set aside $96m in the 2016 budget for its Try-Test-Learn fund to help vulnerable groups.
“We will, in effect, take bids from the non-government sector, not-for-profits, any organisation that thinks they have a plan that can affect one of the groups in the system and decrease their dependency on welfare,” he said.
“Then we will fund that organisation to undertake that plan, then use data to measure going forward whether the group they’re targeting is having better success rates at getting off welfare than the average group in the sample.”
Porter said programs under the Try-Test-Learn fund could include “social impact bond type arrangements”, direct investment or services for targeted groups.
PLY: I mentioned this a week or two back but would encourage you to read this blog post by Sydney hedge fund manager John Hempton on prescription charges. On a slightly separate note, a leading Sydney consultancy led by academic Professor Michael Aitken is leading the charge in analysing health care efficacy with some rather nifty software developed in his labs…