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We believe that transparency, both in our own operations and across the wider social investment market, is crucial to build knowledge, trust and understanding.

Latest releases

Key documents

What we hope to achieve 

There is a long way to go, but in a year’s time, we hope that we will have moved on significantly in the availability of information and data in the market. Our objectives are threefold. We aim to:

  • Increase availability of information to support charities and social enterprises that are considering social investment and repayable finance, fund managers who are currently providing finance and institutions who are looking to invest in the market.

  • Improve understanding of Big Society Capital as an institution.
  • Ensure the public and other stakeholders can hold us to account for our activities and results.

In particular, deal-level data will improve the understanding of activity in the social investment market, whilst further information on our processes and non-investment activities will enable our stakeholders to better understand how Big Society Capital operates.

The process

We looked at best practice in transparency across comparable organisations and matched up with what Big Society Capital currently does across our roles: as an investor; as a market champion; and as a corporate. We then developed eleven proposals to improve our transparency. We published these proposals and invited feedback through an 'Open Conversation on Transparency'.

We received twelve responses through our website and discussed our proposals in greater detail with ten of our fund manager investees, given the likely impact on their operations. To better understand the data infrastructure needed to take the deal level proposal forward, we also convened a small roundtable of experts. We are very grateful for the input of everyone involved.

Our commitments

Some of the proposals Big Society Capital is taking forward are:

  • Publish historical deal-level data up to September 2015 on the investments made into charities and social enterprises and continue to publish twice yearly.
  • Publish a list of completed and current market championing projects
  • Publish an abridged version of our internal investment manual.
  • Develop tools to encourage transparency e.g. a transparency charter.
  • Publish a summary of key governing principles and constraints derived from Big Society Capital’s governing documents.
  • Hold a town hall meeting with Big Society Capital board members.
  • Develop a signposted annual report.
  • Publish details on operational costs alongside the annual report.
  • Publish a blog outlining Big Society Capital’s strategy towards the legal infrastructure for social investment.

The full list can be found in Transparency- Next Steps


Nick Benton | Data & Management Information Controller