Government too often assumes that responsibility for achieving outcomes is handed off to providers once a service is contracted out. To achieve effective delivery of social services, government must maintain its share of responsibility for results during the period of service delivery and be an active participant in refining systems to improve client outcomes. Active contract management (ACM) is a set of strategies developed by the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL) in partnership with government clients that apply high-frequency use of data and purposeful management of agency service provider interactions to improve outcomes from contracted services.
For a more detailed overview of this approach, see our publication: Active Contract Management: How Governments Can Collaborate More Effectively with Social Service Providers to Achieve Better Results. For guidance on implementation, check out our guide: Six Tools for Implementing Active Contract Management. To see how these strategies are being used on-the-ground, watch this short video on how Rhode Island is using active contract management to connect job seekers to employment:
Read more in the examples below about how these strategies have been adopted by agencies responsible for child welfare, workforce development, prisoner re-entry, developmental disabilities, and addiction treatment to improve service delivery.