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Date 18 Sep 2018

Time 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.


For the past eight years, the UK has been leading the way in the development of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), with 45 such projects now launched in the UK. Since the first SIB was launched in the UK in 2010, more than 108 SIBs have been developed across the globe, including in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Israel, tackling a growing range of social issues from children’s social care and youth unemployment, to homelessness, refugee integration, social isolation and health. While a wealth of learning and practical insights has started to emerge, a systematic assessment of the evidence to date has been lacking.  

This session will discuss the initial findings of the research conducted by the Government Outcomes Lab into the implementation of Social Impact Bonds in the UK. Join us for an interactive session that will explore with our guest panellists and online audience the key findings of the report and the implications for the future application of SIBs as a tool for improving the provision of public services. 

About the report

The public debate around SIBs ranges from extraordinary expectations to passionate opposition and such a polarised debate can risk poor policy making. As the GO Lab takes an agnostic stance, this report moves beyond ideological debate to provide a constructive response based on robust academic evidence. It explores three perennial issues in public service, namely the fragmentation of services, reactive spending and difficulty innovating, and looks at how SIBs may alleviate these through collaboration, prevention and innovation. 

The report finds that SIBs may lessen these challenges, but we are not seizing the opportunity to learn from where they work well and where they don’t. This report sets a landscape for a fresh, more open, more useful conversation about social impact bonds and is an important read for public service managers and policy makers.

About the speakers

Mara Airoldi, Director, GO Lab

Mara is an Economist and Decision Analyst, with a special interest and extensive expertise in the field of healthcare. Mara has worked extensively with managers of the English and the Italian National Health Systems. She has also consulted for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario (Canada), the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the (then) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England, NATO and the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Val Keen, Head of the Centre for Social Impact Bonds, DCMS

Val heads up the Centre for Social Impact Bonds. She joined DCMS from MHCLG, where she led the delivery and implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act, designed to ensure people get help earlier to prevent homelessness. During this time she was responsible for MHCLG's homelessness SIB programmes. While Director of Operations at national youth homelessness charity Depaul she led the design and delivery of their Fair Chance Fund SIB. Val's previous career includes work with local and central government, the voluntary and community and housing association sectors, focusing on a broad spectrum of issues including young people’s services, homelessness, commissioning practice and social investment.

Robert Pollock, Director, Social Finance UK

Robert is a Director at Social Finance and leads their work on SIBs and public service reform. He has a particular interest in whole place systems, commissioning, and the role of data analytics to deliver better outcomes. Prior to Social Finance, Robert was a senior civil servant at HM Treasury, and has also worked for United Nations and Westminster City Council. Robert is a Board Member of the New Local Government Network as well as the Public Service. 

The discussion will be moderated by Nigel Ball, Deputy Director & Head of Commissioning Support, GO Lab

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