Social Impact Bonds

UK aims for £1billion Social Impact Bonds

It’s no surprise that the government is such a strong supporter of social investment; at a time when investment in public services is being cut substantially year after year, #socinv is a key source of extra funding.

Payment by results is not a free lunch

There’s no free lunch. Yet across the country, advocates of Pay for Success (PFS), or Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), serve up this alternative private financing model as a cost-free, risk-free silver bullet to support critical, yet underfunded, public services.

Final evaluation of Peterborough prison PbR pilot

The pilot was widely claimed to have been set up to stimulate innovation, although it was based on a previous model already developed by St Giles trust. Nevertheless, the SIB funding was found to be flexible and allowed staff to use a personalised budget approach to resolve issues for individual service users as well as incentivising engagement.

Putting Social Impact Bonds to the test

Finally, five years since the first impact bond, we have yet to see whether impact bonds will lead to sustained impact on the lives of beneficiaries beyond the impact bond contract duration. The existing literature states that impact bonds could lead to sustained impact by demonstrating to government that a sector or intervention type is worth funding or by improving the quality of programmes by instilling a culture of outcome achievement, monitoring, and evaluation.

Social Impact Bonds and Homelessness – 2nd Evaluation

The PbR model appears to be incentivising delivery as intended and there is no evidence of perverse incentives. The ethos of the provider organisations means that they are both committed to continuing support for those who remain on the streets.

Do Social Impact Bonds work?

As we have come to expect, there are significant benefits to the SIB approach but also some serious challenges. Most stakeholders involved in SIBs, especially service providers, had a positive experience to the extent that most see themselves as likely to be involved in delivering Social Impact Bonds in the future. The Payment by Results approach places an intense focus on outcomes and greater impact for beneficiaries.

Social Impact Bonds and Homelessness

Overall the evaluation concluded that the SIB/PbR process had stimulated providers to bring together different elements of best and effective practice in an innovative manner using a “navigator” approach where a single role: “supports a client along the entire pathway from the street/point of first contact and blends direct support with wider provision brokered and coordinated to sustain long term outcomes”

Did Peterborough and Doncaster reoffending pilots succeed?

So what do we make of these results? To me they represent a mixed picture, there’s no denying that reoffending has been reduced. However, we would normally expect a high level of performance from such a high profile pilot where the partners had chosen to participate and indeed championed and driven the initiative from the outset. On the other hand, there has been significant learning about how best to co-ordinate pre-and post-release activity, use mentors effectively and co-ordinate a multi-agency approach to preventing reoffending.

The risky business of Social Impact Bonds

Will SIBs become a mainstream way of funding public services? My take on new Social Market Foundation report. “Effective transfer of financial accountability is the holy grail of public service reform” The main mechanism for this has been payment by results with which Social Impact Bonds are closely associated. Social Impact Bonds and PbR appear to be a good fit:

Three perspectives on risk in payment by results

00000This is the fifth in a short series of posts by Richard Butler and his colleague Holger Westphely from Aylesbury Partnerships on managing risk in payment by results contracts. 3 Perspectives of PbR risk In this series we have treated the new risks that arise with the trend towards PbR commissioning. This final post will summarise the thoughts from the perspectives of the three stakeholder groups that we work with: Delivery organisations, Commissioners and Investors. The overriding …

Three perspectives on risk in payment by resultsRead More »

How should we measure recovery from addiction?

00000Measuring recovery The biggest challenge of the drug recovery payment by results pilots has been agreeing a simple but robust measurement system to report on whether new approaches to drug treatment are successful in helping problem drug users stay clean and lead constructive and fulfilling lifestyles. There was an extensive public consultation about what these outcome metrics should be and, even though they have recently been updated, it’s far from clear whether they will work in …

How should we measure recovery from addiction?Read More »

Select Language

Keep up-to-date on drugs and crime

You will get one email with a new article every day.

Scroll to Top