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Social Outcomes Conference 2021

SOC21 Master Slide Deck

Event dates and session times are currently displayed based on Europe/London timezone

Theme: Government, business and civil society collaboration in places

Social levelling-up: the role of cross-sector partnerships, place and devolution in addressing social disparity between regions

Worldwide, inequality between places is a major source of social anxiety and political disruption. The UK is an extreme case of this phenomenon: a highly centralised country which exhibits a surprisingly high level of geographic inequality. The current government has a bold political commitment to ‘level-up’ the country, which makes it a useful case study to consider the way forward internationally. But to make a meaningful impact, the strategy cannot focus only on new motorways and rail links: it will need to embrace the importance of social tools for transformation. Here, the role of responsible businesses, charities and community groups is key: no government can level-up alone.

If such ‘cross-sector partnerships’ are key to improving social outcomes, then how should governments nurture them? How much should the private sector be encouraged to help, and where does traditional democratic governance fit in? How can the multiple, intersecting layers of regional and local governments work with each other, and with the central government, to create the conditions for success?

How to level-up regions socially, as well as economically, is complex but essential. This two-part roundtable will examine examples and engage a line-up of leading thinkers on what the social aspect of levelling-up should mean. The conference audience are essential in offering a broad international perspective and in carrying the discussion on to all parts of the world. As one of Europe's most respected experts on regional and urban policy, Professor Philip McCann will be an outstanding chair to guide us towards answers in a session that we hope will offer some new perspectives on the question of how to level-up.



Testing different approaches to help people experiencing homelessness in Greater Manchester
A series of studies were performed on the ‘Greater Manchester Homes Partnership’, an MHCLG commissioned SIB  project, which ran between 2017-2020, and aimed to provide support to at least 200 …
Coping with Complexity and Urban Inequality - Dilemmas of London Governance

This paper targets thee interconnected problems: unequal urbanisation, rising complexity of governance and crisis of trust in democratic governance.  While more than half of the world population currently live in …

'Wisbech: using collaboration to aim for transformation change'

Wisbech is a town that has become left-behind in a large part due to physical alienation. Environmental aspects limiting development and absence of transport links impact the Cambridgeshire town, creating …

Theme: Outcomes-based contracting

From pilot to systems change: International perspectives on outcomes-based partnerships


In this roundtable session we will explore with experts from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia the latest practice and emerging insights around the development of outcomes-focused partnerships, such as social outcomes contracts, development impact bonds and outcomes funds. Building on examples from places as diverse as Spain, Cameroon, South Africa, India and Japan, the discussion will focus in particular on the challenges of moving from pilot programmes to system-wide approaches. 

As outcomes-based partnerships continue to be developed across the world, how are policymakers and practitioners using the evidence and lessons learnt from individual projects to embed a greater focus on social outcomes in the provision of public services more generally? How are governments and their partner organisations working together to scale and sustain the impact of promising approaches? What can policymakers learn from practice elsewhere in the world, and how can we encourage more effective cross-country learning? 

We will be addressing these questions and lots more in a lively and interactive session, where all participants will have the opportunity to bring in their own experience into the discussion. 

Further information 

You can explore our interactive global Impact Bond Dataset to access data on impact bonds in their various stages of development around the world. You can discover the different policy areas impact bonds are working in as well as their timelines and networks. 

For an in-depth discussion of the drivers, opportunities and challenges shaping the implementation of outcomes-based partnerships in different social and economic contexts around the world, do watch this discussion from last’s Social Outcomes Conference.  


Impact Bonds in India - Practice and Policy
India is the leading impact investment and outcome funding market in South East Asia and the developing world. As practitioners at the forefront of social finance and outcome funding transactions …
Designing for uncertainty: designing an impact bond during a pandemic and the choices we faced

COVID-19 has created a massive, once-in-a-generation economic and public health emergency in India. It has exposed weaknesses in underlying social structures and services, and highlighted the need to build resilient …

A proposal for innovation in Spanish social public policies through SIBs

n January 2020, SpainNAB in alliance with COTEC Foundation launched a taskforce to foster social innovation in public policies in Spain through mechanisms enabling a cultural shift to focus on …

Can Abu Dhabi’s first SIB makes us rethink the potential of SIBs?


We examine the use of a Social Impact Bond (SIB) to trigger wider system support for social outcomes approaches across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The SIB facilitates the …

The Impact Evaluation of Offender Treatment Programmes: Japan's Challenge

In Japan, the Pay-For-Success contract has increased at a regional level for the past couple of years. At the national level, a pilot programme for the learning support of juvenile …

Adaptation of Impact Bond into Urban Development Policy in Japan

Impact bond (IB) can be defined as outcome-based contracting with using financial mechanism and public-private partnerships. IB tends to have different stakeholders including government, investors, nonprofit and for-profit service providers. …

Kangaroo Mother Care DIB in Cameroon

The Cameroon Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) DIB, launched in December 2018, ends in September 2021. DIB Program Manager, Hortance Manjo, and Performance Management Advisor, Louise Savell, will share the final …

The Imagine SIB - improving the health and social outcomes for adolescent girls and young women

Overview of the project 

The Imagine SIB aims at improving reproductive health outcomes for school going Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) through evidence-based interventions. The outcomes payor is a …

Menstruation Development Impact Bond

Menstruation is an important part of any woman’s life, yet it remains a strong taboo in many countries. Because of this, many girls have a very poor knowledge of the …

Theme: Procurement and social value

Transforming public procurement? Issues of culture, outcomes, transparency, and learning in the UK Government's post-Brexit public procurement law reform proposals

Chaired by Michael Bowsher QC, this session will explore public procurement law reform initiatives in the UK and around the world in relation to public services designed to tackle social challenges.  After many years of experience implementing with the European Union’s directive on public procurement, the UK is now engaged in developing new legislation that the government promises will transform public procurement. 

The UK is also developing their fifth open government national action plan and is likely to make new ‘open contracting’ commitments. In contrast, Lebanon is seeking to enact and implement their first law on public procurement. The demands and expectations upon public procurement systems are high. 

We are promised solutions to COVID-19 and climate change through public procurement, while issues of transparency and accountably persist. Will new law help?



Transparency and Social Outcomes: Friends or foes?

Public procurement is increasingly tasked with meeting a plethora of policy objectives, from environmental sustainability and social value through to delivering economic renewal and innovation. The imperative to ‘build back …

Procurement for Prosperity: Lebanon's path towards efficiency, social value and transparency

A large debate across policy hubs worldwide focuses on the strategic role of government procurement as a key instrument to achieving better value of taxpayers’ money, but also to incorporating …

Welcome to Social Outcomes Conference 2021

GO Lab Academic Director Dr Mara Airoldi will welcome online and in-person participants to this year's conference. We will also be joined by Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government.

Measuring what counts in order to make markets work for people

Measurement matters for policy and policy matters for well-being. Professor Stiglitz and colleagues have long argued that standard economic measurements, such as gross domestic product (GDP), mislead policy-makers to the true health of our economies and societies. Their critique is that there is a gap between the image provided by macro-economic statistics on one side, and people’s perceptions of their own conditions and of society as whole on the other.  

When policy-makers concentrate on the wrong metrics it has the potential for inadequate policy choices to be made, with potentially severe and long-lasting consequences for many. As Professor Stiglitz has argued: If we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing. If our measures tell us everything is fine when it really isn’t, we will be complacent. Getting the measurement right – or at least a lot better – is of crucial importance. It is only by having better metrics that truly reflect people’s lives that we will be able to design and implement better policies.  

In this keynote address Professor Stiglitz will move beyond GDP to present a bold agenda to assess societal well-being. Presenting findings from a decade’s work by the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, Professor Stiglitz will outline how a dashboard of indicators can reveal who is benefitting from growth, whether that growth is environmentally sustainable, how people feel about their lives, what factors contribute to an individual’s or a country’s success. Many of these themes are summarised in his co-authored book Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being. 

Panel discussion

The keynote address will be followed by reflections from a panel of distinguished experts which will include perspectives from academia, economics, government and international organisations. 

Our respondent  panellists will offer reflections as to whether the vision articulated by Professor Stiglitz is moving us in the right direction to assess the true health of economies and societies. 

The panel will also share practical insights of how policy implementation might be affected by this approach; how does a dashboard of indicators relate to meso and micro policy  decisions? The panel will  explore how governments and their partners in other organisations  can  support this agenda, and what can be done at the micro and meso levels to support the work that Professor Stiglitz and other advocates of his vision are doing  at the macro level.

Theme: Outcomes-based contracting

International Public Management Journal special issue symposium

Academics at the Social Outcomes Conference have generated many special issues over the years. This symposium is structured to provide listed participants feedback on their manuscripts under consideration for inclusion in a forthcoming special issue in the International Public Management Journal. 

The papers under discussion are: 

  1. Anders, Dorsett: ‘Financing social innovation through payment by results: reflections from the evaluations of two large-scale case studies from the evaluations of two large-scale case studies’ 
  2. Chiodo, De Pieri, Gerli: ‘Based on outcomes? Challenges and (missed) opportunities of measuring social outcomes in outcome-based contracting’ 
  3. Fernando Deodato Domingos, Insper: ‘Leveraging Outcomes-Based Contracts: The Role of Socially-Oriented Investors’ 
  4. Evans: ‘The effect of Institutional Complementarities within Socio-economic Governance Regimes on SIB Emergence and Dissemination: the first decade’ 
  5. Fox, Olson, Armitage, Baines, Painter: ‘Can a focus on co-created, strengths-based services facilitate early-stage innovation within SIBs?
  6. Fraser, Knoll, Hobi, Hevenstone: ‘How might we compare the ways in which Social Impact Bonds have developed across different European states?’
  7. French, Wilson, Kimmitt, Lowe, Jamieson: ‘Social Impact Bonds: toward New Public Governance, or more New Public Management?’
  8. Hajer, Das: ‘Political-economic Factors leading to SIB Emergence’ 
  9. Merisalo, Pihlajamaa, Saari: ‘How to prepare a successful Social Impact Bond project? In-depth analysis of stakeholder experiences of the preparing phase of the Finland Children's Welfare SIB II project."
  10. Pellizzari, Doganova, Muniesa: ‘Social impact bonds and the tactics of feasibility: experience from Chile, Colombia and France'
  11. Tan, Allen, 'Doing everything they can or everything that pays? The impact of outcomes-based contracts on two non-profit organisations.’ 

This session will be delivered online only.

Theme: Government, business and civil society collaboration in places

Together or apart: how should non-state work with the state to improve social outcomes?

Governments around the world have been augmented by non-state actors to provide much needed public service provision to communities. Whether businesses acting responsibly or civil society organisations doing what they can, there are variations in the level of collaboration with government. So how should relations be managed between government and non-state actors and what factors affect these relations? Trust, incentives, value systems, efficiency and division are all important elements highlighted in the presentations. The studies featured in this session examine five engaging papers by expert researchers and practitioners (find more details on each paper below)

These papers will inform what is anticipated to be a lively discussion between the audience and the respondent panel to help develop the problems and opportunities presented in state and non-state actors working together.   


Responsible business: a challenging opportunity

The world of business is in a new epoch of accepting social responsibility and at the same time there is a need for every element of society to put their …

Broken pieces: A qualitative study of the uncoordinated response to COVID-19 in India

The second wave of COVID-19 wreaked an unprecedented havoc in India starting April 2021. The states of Maharashtra and Delhi were among the worst hit, witnessing a structural breakdown of …

Want outcomes – is it the role of government or NGOs?

Despite commitments made by governments and other stakeholders to advance women’s economic empowerment, financial inclusion and market participation, the realities of women and girls around the world remain deeply inequitable. …

One business, two approaches: reducing recidivism through private, public and third sector collaborations in the UK and Italy

Lendlease has a wide variety of community-focussed activities delivering high social value.  Our practice-based presentation proposes to take two of these programmes which focus on reducing recidivism, compare the approaches …
Organizational imprints under pressure: The role of value systems in engaging with external institutional demands

Organizations are under constant pressure from changing institutions (such as laws, public opinion, or societal norms) to react and perform in certain ways. However, these external institutional demands can sometimes …

Hack & Learn show and tell

Our bi-annual Hack-and-Learn is an opportunity for policymakers, data analysts and other leading representatives of the public and private sectors to come together and tackle pressing questions in the field of social outcomes. Harnessing skills and experiences from a diverse pool of actors, this event provides a space for learning and community building around the use of data in the field and an opportunity to solve problems, co-produce and make better sense of the use of data.

In the two weeks leading up to SOC21, participants will join a challenge of their choice and work together in a team with other participants across the world to tackle the challenge together. This summer's co-hosts, INSPER, University of Cape Town’s Bertha Centre and Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact & Philanthropy, will offer the list of challenges but there is always space for participants to propose a new idea and work on it with a team of participants. 

Participants will present their final results at this ‘Show and Tell’ session, where senior researchers and practitioners provide feedback and suggestions for improvements. The session is open to anyone, particularly those interested in the use of data in the field of social outcomes.



Theme: Procurement and social value

Lecture Theatre 1

Adventures in awarding social outcomes contracts

Organisations can have a difficult time awarding outcomes-based contracts. Many processes for budgets, procurement, risk management, etc. were not designed to focus on outcomes – especially not long-term social outcomes. Many of these processes are deeply entrenched in rules or practice. 

This session considers these challenges and offers solutions, including a new template outcomes contract, a new guide, and lessons learned from around the world. The session will also consider the fundamental public policy reasons behind entrenched administrative processes in public organisations and reconsider how an outcomes focus may achieve important underlying objectives such as effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability.


Best Practices In Contracting For Results

Results-Based Financing (RBF) is attracting interest as an innovative way to fund social programs in order to improve the effectiveness of spending, enable innovation in service delivery and promote partnerships …

A risk compass for optimising social outcome-based contracts: reflections from NSW impact investments

Social impact investments (SII) have been used in NSW to test new and innovative programs to address social challenges. As all innovations inherently have an element of risk in them, …

Awarding SIBs across Europe
New Outcomes Contract for use in UK SIBs

The UK Outcomes Contract for use in SIBs first published in 2013 and available on the website of the Department for Culture Media and Sport has become the starting point …

Theme: Outcomes-based contracting

Lecture Theatre 2

Children’s services in Europe: using social impact bonds to commission preventative services

This session will explore social impact bonds (SIBs) focussing on children’s services across Europe. By taking a comparative lens, it will draw out the different justifications for using SIBs, development processes, design choices, and emerging (or final) results from these projects. 

The session will build on research from the GO Lab and RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) and combine this with practitioner experiences on the ground from the Positive Families Partnership and City of Tampere.  

During the discussion, we will highlight the following themes:

  • Understanding prevention in different contexts
  • Justifications and rationales for using a SIB to deliver children’s services
  • Design and development of social impact bond projects
  • The use of high fidelity and licensed interventions in children’s social care
  • Emerging and/or final performance results (where available)
  • Lessons for using SIBs as a commissioning mechanism within children’s services
  • Comparing SIBs to commissioning alternatives in children’s services


Tied to the mast – social outcomes contracting as implementation strategy for proactive and preventative partnerships

At RISE Social & Health Impact Center, we are exploring different approaches to support the transition towards a proactive, outcome focused welfare sector. In this presentation, we argue that we …

Social Impact Bond (SIB) in the city of Tampere – future for young people aged 15-17 years in foster care

The Social Impact Bond (SIB) is a form of impact investing. In a SIB, institutional and private investors fund services that promote well-being and assume the risks associated with the …

The use of social impact bonds in children’s social care: a comparative analysis of project justifications and design consideration in the Life Chances Fund

This study investigates social impact bond (SIB) projects aiming to improve social outcomes for children and young people in England. First pioneered in 2010 in the UK, social impact bonds …

Grow, learn, adapt: Positive Families Partnership’s experience keeping families together in London

Positive Families Partnership (PFP) was established as a partnership of three delivery organisations – Family Action, Family Psychology Mutual and South West London & St. Georges Trust - in early …

Theme: Measuring outcomes and value for money

Seminar rooms

Measuring impact: trade-offs and accountability

The rise of impact-driven investment and service provision opens up both the opportunity and need to develop common measurement strategies in order to keep up with the diversity of experience over time. Outcome Based Contracts (OBCs) have initiated new impact-focused relationships between the public and private sector. Impact investment, meanwhile, is now worth over $700 billion, making it one of the fastest growing parts of the investment industry.

The influx of funding for OBCs and impact investment raises the stakes for the measurement of social impact, as there is now a distinct incentive to ‘prove’ certain levels of impact. This introduces new risks (such as impact washing) and opportunities (such as sustainable financing) and calls for innovative measurement and accountability methods. This session presents some of the latest contributions to this body of literature.


Determining outcomes and setting targets to suit multiple stakeholders and purposes while balancing counterfactual risk in the Imagine Social Impact Bond.

The Imagine programme aims to provide a comprehensive package of services to adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) to reduce teenage pregnancy and HIV infection, as well as improve outcomes …

Organisational learning and the resilience of causal theories underpinning impact investment: action research based on commercial use of the Qualitative Impact Protocol (QuIP)

Impact investors are by definition explicitly or implicitly influenced by causal theories linking their financing to intended social outcomes. We focus on the role of independent reviews as a means …

The social return on investment model: a systematic literature review

Social return on investment (SROI) has been receiving increasing attention, both academically and professionally, since its initial development by the Robert Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) in the USA in the …

Reconciling different motives for measurement in the design and evaluation of measurement tools

What makes a ‘good’ measurement tool?

In this presentation we will look at three different motives for measurement: 

  • holding service providers to account for the achievement of outcomes and comparison …
How to improve social outcomes through measurement: using the SDG Index + in the context of social impact bonds

The increasing popularity of measuring impact has led to the development of numerous frameworks that aim to quantify the social and environmental contribution of an investment. But despite its importance …

Theme: Outcomes-based contracting

Lecture Theatre 1

Big picture - Art & science: making sense of the global evidence on outcomes-based contracting approaches

Outcomes-based contracting encompasses a wide array of approaches, including payment-by-results, social outcome contracts, social impact bonds, development impact bonds, pay for success and social impact contracts. An in-depth understanding of the global evidence on the effect of these different tools is crucial in enabling policymakers to make evidence-informed decisions on the most appropriate form of outcome contracts or financial model to adopt in different contexts.   

Amid a growing – but mixed - body of evidence on these ever-evolving approaches, understanding the potential of these outcomes-based contracting tools can feel like both art and science. How are policymakers and practitioners to make sense of the mixed evidence? How can they integrate this mixed evidence into policy decisions and best practice?   

In this session, we will present the preliminary findings of the Global Systematic Review on Social Outcomes Contracting launched by the Government Outcomes Lab and Ecorys in January 2021. The review explores whether, when, and where (and if possible, how) outcomes-based contracting approaches deliver improved impact when compared to more conventional funding arrangements.

We will explore the practical implications of the research findings with a panel of experienced policymakers and practitioners, in a discussion moderated by Carolyn J. Heinrich, Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics at Vanderbilt University.  

Theme: Outcomes-based contracting

Lecture Theatre 1

Shifting narratives and logics for the use of social impact bonds

This deep dive session will feature academic and practitioner perspectives on the use of social impact bonds (SIBs). The justifications and merits of SIBs are multiple and uncertain: are these tools for driving efficiency, extracting social value, or enabling government to act in different more collaborative or preventative ways?


Is there a life after social impact bonds? Scaling innovations in a public context after experimentations

Public Innovation is considered by scholars and practitioners as one of the main drivers to solve major social and environmental problems our societies are facing. Nevertheless, the crucial move from …

Trials of implementation in social impact bonds: Contrasting orientations in the formation of SIB policies in France, Colombia and Chile

Social impact bonds have developed since 2010 as innovative outcomes-based funding mechanisms for social policy. Although SIBs are still marginal in terms of amount invested and number of people supported, …

Collaborating to innovate: Village Enterprise Development Impact Bond

This session will showcase the implementation lessons from the first outcomes contract for poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Village Enterprise Development Impact Bond (DIB). 

Village Enterprise DIB was launched …

Mapping and understanding the global diffusion of social impact bonds (SIBs) over time: an analysis of Twitter data

This study involves quantitative and qualitative analysis of a dataset of SIB focused tweets posted between 2010 - 2020, which used a relevant SIBs hashtag. The dataset was built using …

Theme: Outcomes-based contracting

Seminar rooms

The integration of the user voice in outcomes-based contracts and beyond

Considering the frequent claims on the financialisation of public services and a perceived lack of the user voice in SIBs, this panel session aims to examine the emerging evidence on the role of the user voice in impact bonds across the UK and in an international context. Four overarching questions will guide our discussion:

  1. How does the SIB design might help to facilitate the integration of the user voice?
  2. At which stage of the programme and in which form shall the user voice be integrated?
  3. How can the user voice be better integrated with other approaches, especially data, in the design of SIBs?
  4. How can we ensure that the user voice affects national and local policy design?


Co-creation and strengths-based working in social outcome contracts: new ways to create socially innovative solutions to pressing social needs?

The aim of this study was to test the proposition that Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), as a type of social outcome-based contracts, can create more socially innovative solutions to pressing …

Creating a new service for unpaid carers in Norfolk through collaborative design

Norfolk Carers Partnership is the first of a kind Social Outcomes contract for Carers in the UK. It commenced delivery in September 2020 and supports unpaid adult carers caring for …

Youth led accountability: How young people in Malawi are supporting government accountability in COVID-19 using the community score card

To address the increasingly dire situation for the youth in Malawi's COVID-19 crisis, young people in Malawi have adapted CARE’s Community Score Card to amplify their voices and other marginalised …

Improving long-term outcomes for vulnerable adults: How do differing models affect service users?

This presentation will describe the journey from 1) qualitative research of potential service users to understand practical, experienced barriers to HIV testing and reengagement from their perspective to 2) understanding …

Theme: Outcomes orientation

Lecture Theatre 2

Outcomes for institutional reform

Complex social issues do not have a linear cause-effect explanation. They typically sit in multi-layered, at times dysfunctional, eco-systems where multiple actors affect each other and the social issue in ways which are not entirely predictable. 

In this session we will look and discuss the use of a number of instruments which aim to influence the broader canvas in which complex social issues sit including CSR regulation, the setting of global agendas or manifestos, the provision of specific performance information to drive strategic decisions and the use of outcomes-based approaches for institutional reform.


Using Impact to voice the last mile communities in the CSR Boardrooms

India is the only country in the world that has mandated corporates making profits to set aside portions of it towards corporate social responsibility (CSR). Its one-of-a-kind structure in the …

Using results-based financing to advance institutional and policy reform

For decades, donors have experimented with different approaches to catalyze economic growth in developing countries, with uneven success. Through this experimentation, it has become increasingly evident that poorly functioning institutions …

Anti-encroachment and urban development in Karachi – Human rights approach to project planning for inclusive policy networks

The adoption of the global agenda of 2030 at the United Nations in 2015 opened a new arena of collaborative governance. This approach rests on cross-sectoral collaboration between governments, civil …

What drives performance information use by public service managers? A survey experiment of school principals’ attitudes

Literature has confirmed various determinants of public service managers’ performance information use. Nonetheless, evidence on how these determinants work or do not work in developing countries—whose institutional settings are generally …

Outcomes beyond accountability? Managing outcomes through performance attraction

This paper draws on empirical data to explore a new theoretical concept for embedding an outcomes approach in complex and multi-actor settings. Social outcomes lie across institutional boundaries, interact with …

Theme: Procurement and social value

Lecture Theatre 1

Using public procurement to build back better?

Chaired by Professor Christopher McCrudden, this session will explore the use of spending through government contracts – the public procurement system - to achieve broad public policy goals. There are various names for such initiates around the world, including ‘buying social’, ‘broader outcomes’, and ‘social value’. In the UK, central government agencies are now required to explicitly evaluate ‘social value’ when they contract for any goods or services. 

This became mandatory for all new central government contracts beginning January 2021 (Procurement Policy Note 06/20). These policies are ambitious and important in the face of COVID-19 and climate change. These policies also raise questions about public sector capacity, democracy, accountability, and the role of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organizations. 

As governments begin to spend billions to build back better, this panel brings together actors from the UK and international perspectives on this timely and highly salient topic. 



Value for money in Public Procurement: efficiency, price and social value

Value for money is the main objective of most national regimes on public procurement, and it is often stated that value for money is an object of EU regulation. However, …

Theme: Government, business and civil society collaboration in places

Lecture Theatre 1

Politicians in the board room? How government should handle responsible business

Globally there is a wide expectation that business should be more socially responsible and in recent years businesses have started to rhetorically embrace this expectation. Covid-19 seems to have accelerated the trend of business becoming more attentive to creating positive environmental and community impact.

That ‘businesses should do good for society’ is an uncontroversial statement, yet how is this to be achieved? Is it a good idea for businesses to play a prominent social role or to focus on returns for shareholders? The issue is more complex than it seems.

Socially responsible businesses must choose priorities and ultimately may be making decisions that are political. Considering the lobbying capability of business, what is the dividing line between the Cabinet Room and the board room? Should representative governments see social outcomes as their duty alone, or encourage responsible business as the best way to realise social value from global corporate giants that are increasingly hard to tax? Do boards even have the right to choose social causes to allocate company money to?

Join two outstanding thought leaders – Dr Dambisa Moyo, global economist and best-selling author, and Karthik Ramanna, Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government – for an engaging discussion on how governments can support responsible business.