August 12 2016

A brace of articles examines the state of play in SIB-world which marks an appropriate point to have a brief pause in our publication…

It’s summer (from where I am staring through a window…allegedly…) so we’re off with a pan European bank holiday Monday then the team expect to stay at the beach to exercise their buckets and spades for the rest of the week. We’ll be back with SIB News daily Monday 22nd August – enjoy summer!

State Of Play With Payment by Results & Social Impact Bonds

Voluntary News

Sector thinktank NPC has two articles looking at where we are with Payments by Results and its “natural partner”, Social Impact Bonds.

Making sense of payment by results

The article is written by the developer of an interactive tool to help commissioners, investors and providers think through the many factors associated with choosing a PbR model, which is available from consultant Russell Webster’s website.

NPC’s chief executive meanwhile writes ‘Where are we at with Social Impact Bonds?‘ This puts a recent review of progress with SIBs (Social Impact Bonds: the Early Years) in context. His next blog will give more detailed pros and cons of SIBs, but here he does clarify that this approach just won’t be right for many social policy interventions, let alone all social organisations.


Where Are We At With Social Impact Bonds?

Dan Corry, CEO of NPC

A good time to reflect.

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs)—known as Pay for Success in the USA—have now been part of the policy agenda for some years.

The model is essentially a payment by results contract funded by investors who are paid only if the outcomes are achieved. Established in the last days of the last Labour government (yes, there was one once) they were taken up strongly by the Coalition, pushed by David Cameron as Prime Minister, and at least not blocked by the Treasury under George Osborne. Ministers like Iain Duncan Smith liked them and diverted money towards them. Similar initiatives have started to appear across the world.

But the British politicians who acted as cheerleaders for SIBs have now left the stage, somewhat suddenly. And we do not know if the new Theresa May/ Philip Hammond axis will embrace them anywhere near as vigorously.

We are also seeing various experts and commentators weighing in on the topic as well as on the more general issue of social investment itself. So it’s a good time to reflect on where the whole SIBs debate has got to. Are they working? Or do we need to find a new policy toy to play with?

SIBs may have been talked up a little too much.