Chris Grayling at the Home Office is keen on his new plan to rehabilitate prisoners. The Minister has yet to see the results of his payment by results pilot scheme, but rather than wait for the results, he has decided to go ahead with payment by results, by deciding not to read the pilot results at all. Nobody knows what the result of all this will be.
Keen to reassure Radio 4 listeners this morning, he said – and I quote word for word:
“The pilot I’ve been to see personally, it’s in Peterborough, it’s a system whereby offenders start to get mentoring before they leave prison”.
It’s encouraging that Chris has seen the pilot, but he hasn’t read the results as such. I’m not that interested in it being in Peterborough to be honest, although it’s nice to colour a few things in, even if they aren’t the, um, results. And I gather that mentoring before they leave is fairly normal, and preferable to mentoring after they’ve bashed the crap out of somebody in a sub-post office somewhere – Peterborough, perhaps. The Minister added:
“First indications are very encouraging. We get the detailed statistics later this month, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m very encouraged that it does indeed work.”
So Chris has seen the pilot, he’s got some first indications, he’s encouraged, he hasn’t seen the stats, but it does work. Don’t try deconstructing that sentence at home. Grayling explained his eccentric approach to cart and horse arrangements in more detail:
“Look, we have to do this differently. I’m very much in favour of putting more of the right people in prison, but we’ve got to stop them coming back again.”
Right, I think I’m just about keeping up with him now: this is urgent, we need to get ahead of ourselves, so we’ll chuck all the wrong people out of prison, stop the right ones from coming back again by mentoring them before they leave, monitor the results before we get them, hope to God that we were right about the wrong people, and stop the right people from turning into wrong’uns. Well….he said different, and it certainly is different.
Cross-eyed Chris concluded crisply:
“The benefit of a payment by results system is it forces the organisations working with you to look for what really does work, because they don’t get paid unless they do.”
I think there is one conclusion I’d add to all that: Chris Grayling isn’t being paid by results on this one.