At some point in 2015 I started thinking that if I didn’t get to grips with understanding social finance I’d probably be a bit of a dinosaur. In a world where money for preventive services is only likely to continue shrinking, any new avenues were worth knowing more about.
Being poor is not just about being unable to afford those ‘nice to have’ things - it’s being forced to pay more for the absolute essentials, such as gas, electricity, banking, household goods and even groceries simply because you are living in poverty. It’s called the ‘poverty premium’ and it is effectively a tax on the poor.
The Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund evaluation is following 10 SIBs part-funded by the fund over their lifetime. One of them is the Worcestershire Reconnections SIB and the first report about the SIB was launched last week.
I spent seven years looking after my mum before she died. Caring for someone with dementia is a lot harder than most people realise. I often felt lost and overwhelmed by the task ahead and soon realised I had to find new ways to keep Mum busy and give her a sense of purpose, otherwise she’d spend all day staring at the TV.
In a recent speech on creating a ‘smarter state’, the Prime Minister said that government will increasingly be ‘bringing in new providers or allowing new ways of doing things’. Following this, the Institute for Government convened an event to explore what we can learn from new approaches to commissioning, setting up and managing public service markets and how to enable integration and collaboration between service providers and government.
Today we announced the winner of the Business Impact Challenge – an innovative new partnership between Interserve, Catch 22 and ClubFinance that has the potential to increase charities and social enterprises’ ability to compete for and deliver public services contracts at scale.
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.
Having previously managed a European Social Fund project, I’ve developed a very close eye for detail, dealt with a lot of data and have experienced a payment by results contract. Despite this, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for my next step into the world of social investment.
Corporate social investment is likely to come from pioneering companies who have piloted targeted social investment approaches, and then take them to scale through more meaningful engagement with the business. The most successful adopters will go well beyond a PR-focused approach and excel at identifying strategic opportunities arising out of social investments.
Not all business investments are created equal. That’s why we’re delighted to see new research from Harvard Business School (HBS) that shows that companies that make serious investments into the most important social and environmental factors can create significant business value relative to their peers.
There is consensus in the UK that financial exclusion is a major problem. After years of branch closures, and post-crisis pressure to tighten lending standards, high street banks are increasingly withdrawing from lower-income communities and marginal businesses – leaving many individuals, businesses and charities unable to access appropriate and affordable financial services.
Early attempts to introduce payment by results into public services may have been met with scepticism, but the coalition government made important progress in developing new commissioning mechanisms that focus on paying for outcomes rather than simply paying for services, and showed a willingness to learn. Read more in The Guardian >>