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General overview

Stage of development: Implementation

Policy sector: Child and family welfare

Date outcomes contract signed: Feb 2019

Start date of service provision: Apr 2019

Anticipated completion date: Mar 2024

Capital raised (minimum): GBP 594.08k (USD 758.18k)

Max potential outcome payment: GBP 1.62m

Service users: 48 individuals


Pause is an intensive, relationship-based support programme, delivered over 18 months. The trauma informed support offered is practical (e.g. support accessing and engaging with benefit entitlement, debt advice, stable housing, primary care services – GP, dental, sexual health, etc), behavioural (e.g. development of behavioural regulation techniques, healthy relationships) and therapeutic (e.g. recovery from loss and trauma)

Target population

The target population is women of child bearing age who have experienced (or are at high risk of experiencing) a cycle of recurrent care proceedings leading to removal of their children into local authority care.



  • United Kingdom

Service delivery locations

  • Plymouth City Council

Outcome metrics

  • Metric 1: Women are supported to take a ‘pause’ from pregnancy to enable them to focus on their own needs, take control of their lives and develop new skills and responses, building their wellbeing and resilience to move forwards to a more positive future. Woman completes the Pause programme (i.e. her period of engagement with the programme was not less than 12 months) and does not become pregnant for 18 months from commencing engagement with the programme.
  • Metric 2: Women who enrol onto the Pause programme do not become subject to the instigation of further care proceedings (in respect of either an Interim Care Order or Care Order) for a period of 36 months from the point they commence engagement with the Pause programme.


This project started delivering services in April 2019 and finished in March 2024. Data was last updated in June 2023. These are interim results.

Outcome achievements

Overall target is based on the high case scenario defined in the Life Chances Fund Final Award Offer or Variation Agreements.

Generating plot, please wait...

The project commissioner interpretation of this graph:

'Metric 1 recognises that supporting women to take a ‘pause’ from repeated short interval pregnancies is pivotal to creating space for women to focus on their own needs and fully engage with the project, to improve wellbeing, resilience and stability, reflect on trauma and begin recovery, learn, aspire, build self-esteem and agency. The longer women maintain engagement, the greater the confidence that this ‘pause’ from pregnancy is attributable to the programme. Therefore, whilst there is a pro-rata payment for engagement of at least 8 months, to achieve the full Metric 1 outcome payment, women must maintain engagement with the programme for at least 12 months.

Metric 2 demonstrates programme impact has been sustained, and women have been successfully supported to exit the cycle of short interval pregnancies leading to care proceedings. If a woman does give birth after engaging with the programme and care proceedings are not instigated, Metric 2 will demonstrate the project has been successful in effectively supporting her to create the foundations upon which she has then gone forward to build parenting capacity.

The metrics were selected in preference to other potential outcomes metrics (e.g. measures of domestic abuse experienced, wellbeing and mental health, engagement with wider services, etc) because they are ‘concrete’, objective metrics that don’t rely on voluntary self-reporting, which would be particularly challenging in the post-programme phase, and do not require significant resources for outcome data collection and verification.

Metric 2 achievement is slightly below that of Metric 1 due to two women sadly passing away after completion of the programme, and is therefore not a reflection of the efficacy of the project.'

Outcome payments

Generating plot, please wait...

The project commissioner interpretation of this graph:

'Outcome payments for Metric 1 are paid as a lump sum, 19 months after a woman commences engagement with the project. Outcome payments for Metric 2 are paid quarterly in arrears, from 18 months to 36 months after a woman commences engagement with the project, based on a daily rate card.

Plan 1 was developed at project set up and based on assumptions of how many women would subsequently successfully engage with the programme. Plan 2 was subsequently developed once actual numbers of women engaging in two consecutive cohorts were known, and outcome projections were revised for the whole project, based on progress already seen with Cohort 1.

The Covid19 pandemic presented a significant potential challenge to achievement of outcomes; however, the Pause practice team found creative ways to adjust programme delivery and sustain women’s engagement throughout periods of lockdown and social distancing restrictions; this proved effective in mitigating the risks to outcome achievement associated with the pandemic.

Actual Metric 2 outcome payments have been slightly below Plan 2 since December 2022, as two women from our Cohort 2 sadly passed away before reaching the full outcome milestone.'

SyROCCo reports

The following articles are taken from the Systematic Review of Outcomes Contracts Collaboration (SyROCCo) Machine Learning tool.

The tool is a collaboration between the Government Outcomes Lab and machine learning experts from the University of Warwick, that allows you to navigate and explore data extracted from nearly 2000 academic and grey literature publications related to outcomes-based contracting.

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