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West Mids conference partners

Date 22 May 2018

Time 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Location Birmingham, United Kingdom


Public services across the country are facing unprecedented challenges, and the West Midlands are no exception. As demand for services is going up and budgets are shrinking, outcomes-based approaches to commissioning, such as social impact bonds (SIBs), have emerged as potentially useful tools. Proponents claim these approaches can improve the delivery of public services by fostering greater collaboration across multiple commissioners and delivery organisations, and by enabling a wider adoption of preventative and innovative models of service delivery. However, detractors point to the perceived complexity of these approaches and ambiguity around the role played by third parties such as social investors.

This conference seeks to explore the opportunities for public service managers in the West Midlands to benefit from these newer approaches to commissioning and service delivery, and clarify the main benefits and challenges as compared to more traditional ways of delivering public services. In particular, it will seek to build on existing examples of best practice across the region and beyond to highlight how public authorities in the West Midlands might tackle complex social problems such as children on the edge of care, long-term health conditions, mental health, and adult social care.  

The event is organised by the Government Outcomes Lab in partnership with the Office for Civil Society at DCMS, Big Society Capital, West Midlands Combined Authority, and Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands.

About the conference

The conference will provide an honest and impartial perspective on some innovative approaches and facilitate peer-to-peer discussion and learning. The event will feature presentations from experienced commissioners, followed by a series of thematic workshop sessions in the afternoon, where commissioners will have the chance to share their own challenges and work collaboratively to start developing practical solutions for the most salient social challenges in their area.

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Enhance their understanding of outcome based commissioning and SIBs, and their practical implementation
  • Learn more about when a social impact bond (SIB) approach might be helpful and when it might not, how to approach the development of a SIB and the pitfalls to avoid
  • Reflect on the opportunities and barriers to using outcome based commissioning to tackle complex social issues
  • Ask questions and share their own experiences of developing SIBs or other types of outcome focused approaches.

Who is the conference for?

The event is aimed at commissioners and procurement officers in public authorities in the region (including councils, CCGs / STPs, and PCCs) and representatives of carefully selected VCSE providers. The event is aimed at both local public agencies who have already developed outcomes-based approaches, including but not limited to SIBs, and those who are new to the space.


The below agenda is provisional and may change in the run-up to the event – changes will be shown as they are made. Further speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

09.30    Arrival and registration

10.00     Opening remarks

Nigel Ball, Deputy Director and Head of Commissioning Support, GO Lab 

James Magowan, Senior Policy Adviser, Centre for Social Impact Bonds, Office for Civil Society, DCMS

    10.10     Keynote address

    Claire Dove, Crown Representative for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector

    10.20     Outcomes-based commissioning and SIBs: setting the context

    • Setting the context: how does outcomes-based commissioning relate to wider trends in commissioning? How can this approach help tackle public service challenges?
    • An overview of social impact bonds (SIBs): what are SIBs? What is the current state of play and what does the evidence to date tell us about the impact of this innovative commissioning model?
    • Understanding social investment: what is the role of social investors in a SIB project? How do social investors seek to work with commissioners and providers in a SIB project?

    Eleanor Carter, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, GO Lab 

    Katy Pillai, GO Lab Fellow of Practice & Investment Director, Big Issue Invest

    Robert Pollock, Director, Social Finance

    11.00     Coffee break

    11.15     Thematic presentations highlighting examples of current or completed outcomes-based commissioning approaches, including but not limited to SIBs. Some of the policy areas that we will look at include: 

    • Managing long term conditions
    • Homelessness
    • Mental health 
    • Children's social care

    Rashid Ikram, Commissioning Manager, Birmingham City Council

    Tara Case, GO Lab Fellow of Practice & Chief Executive, Ways to Wellness

    Mark Ellerby, Director, Cloudberry Innovation & Development

    Nicola Bromage, Mental Health Commissioning Manager, Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group

    Adam Swersky, Director, Social Finance

    Vanessa Newey, Programme Lead - Rewriting Futures, St Basil's

    Paul Riley, Outcomes UK

    12.45     Lunch

    13.30     Why cross-sector collaboration matters for public service reform in the West Midlands

    Henry Kippin, Director of Public Service Reform, West Midlands Combined Authority

    13.45     Designing a robust outcome-based contract: the theory

    Eleanor Carter, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, GO Lab 

    14.00     Designing a robust outcomes-based contract: the practice 

    In-depth practice-focused workshop sessions to explore the development of robust outcomes-based approaches in the policy areas covered during the morning sessions 

    15.25     Setting up a community of practice

    An interactive session designed to enable delegates to form lasting relationships in their practice groups and learn from each other in developing outcomes-based approaches

    15.45     Closing remarks

    16.00     Close

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