In case you’re unfamiliar with Social Impact Bonds – also known as SIBs – see our beginner’s guide. Ever since the first one was launched in 2010 – to tackle recidivism among offenders leaving HMP Peterborough – policy makers in the UK and abroad have been intrigued by the SIB model. In short they are a novel way of paying for public services in which the government only pays for better social outcomes, and risk is borne by investors. This funding model is attractive to government and is one that the Big Lottery Fund is now actively promoting. The people involved in the early SIBs have been powerful evangelists – extolling the virtues of the model not just because it offers improved outcomes, but also because it leads service users, providers and commissioners to work together. Four years on from the launch of the Peterborough SIB some of the initial optimism has turned to frustration that the model has yet to become mainstream policy. Progress has seemed slow and the number of SIBs coming through the pipeline appears to be slowing down. This frustration was reflected by one participant at a roundtable event we hosted recently. They suggested that SIBs […]

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