It’s an important day for social impact bonds (SIBs) as London-based youth charity, Think Forward, has successfully delivered one of the first social impact bonds in the UK to tackle youth unemployment and provide a return to investors.
Commissioned in 2012 through the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) Innovation Fund, the Think Forward SIB was aimed at working with vulnerable young people identified as most at risk of dropping out of school and becoming unemployed. Progression coaches offered one-to-one support to pupils from age 13 across 14 schools. Over the course of the programme, it has transformed the lives of 1000 pupils in Tower Hamlets, Islington and Hackney with over 90% of young people aged 18 progressing into further education, employment or training.
Think Forward SIB was funded on a payment by results basis with investor returns directly linked to improvements in behaviour at school, educational attainment and progression into further education or employment. The initial working capital to deliver the programme was provided by Big Society Capital and Impetus-PEF who equally invested £450,000.
As one of ten SIBs commissioned through the DWP Innovation Fund to tackle youth unemployment, Think Forward is yet another SIB under this initiative which has successfully produced both a social and financial return. Earlier this year, Career Connect, Teens & Toddlers and Adviza all performed above expectations and repaid their investors. They have now all been recommissioned for a second programme. We now want to see the Government take these lessons and apply them to more outcomes-based commissioning.
ThinkForward was founded by Impetus-PEF in 2010. As well as co-funding the SIB, Impetus-PEF also acted as the social intermediary, executing, delivering and supporting the performance of the payment-by-results contract.