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We are delighted to announce that the GO Lab and Ecorys have partnered to undertake a global systematic review to explore whether, when, and where (and if possible, how)  outcomes-based contracting approaches deliver improved impact when compared to more conventional funding arrangements.  

About the systematic review

Our ambition is that this review will go deeper and broader than any evidence review undertaken in this area to date. It will be broader than other studies because it will examine the effects associated with a wide array of different outcomes-based contracting approaches, including Payment by Results, Social Outcome Contracts, Social Impact Bonds, Development Impact Bonds, Pay for Success and Social Impact Contracts. The review will be deeper because it will be a comprehensive, systematic review: we will review and synthesise all research studies published in this area. It will be global in reach, encompassing studies from low, middle and high-income contexts. 

The aim of the research is to offer accessible and reliable empirical insights so that organisations responsible for funding social programmes can make evidence-informed decisions on the most appropriate form of outcome contract or financing model to adopt in different contexts. 

Policy Advisory Group

To aid with the mission of the research, we have established a Policy Advisory Group (PAG) to help steer the study and ensure it produces the insights and outputs that are of most value to policymakers. 

Membership to PAG includes organisations responsible for funding social programmes that either have:

  • expended significant resource on outcomes-based contracts; 
  • intend to; or 
  • have considered it.

The group is jointly chaired by Dr Mara Airoldi, Director of the Government Outcomes Lab, and James Ronicle, Associate Director Policy & Research at Ecorys. The group is to meet three times between November 2020 – June 2021, and will provide advice to the research team on the scope of the study and sources of evidence, the framework for coding the evidence, the shape of the research outputs, and future activity. 

The application to join the Policy Advisory Group is now closed. 

Find out more

Further information about the systematic review and the policy advisory group is included in the briefing note below. 

If you have any questions about this work, you can get in touch with the evaluation team by email at