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Here's an overview of all the sessions and the recordings for Day 1 of the hybrid Social Outcomes Conference 2022.

Thank you to all of those who joined us on day 1 of SOC22 as a speaker or participant - it was wonderful to have 160 in-person attendees and a few hundred more online over our six sessions. To kick off the Social Outcomes Conference 2022, we began with two concurrent roundtable sessions covering two subjects at the heart of our work: exploring measurement and public value, and stretching the impact bond model.

We were then joined by our keynote speaker Professor Julie Battilana from Harvard University. Prof Battilana challenged us all to think about what power really means and how we can use it to improve social outcomes. 

We ended the day with three concurrent roundtables exploring procurement and social value, levelling up and devolution, and impact investing beyond impact bonds.


To kick off the conference, we began with two concurrent roundtable sessions. In our outcomes measurement and public value session, GO Lab's own Dr Mara Airoldi chaired a wide-ranging discussion on the importance of how we define, measure, and use 'value' in decision-making. There was recognition by Stan Gilmour (Thames Valley Police) that 'everyone agrees with the need to collaborate and share the data – but when asked to share in practice, they get protective about this'. There was much discussion among participants of the many challenges of data, Mathilde Pellizzari from FAIR & Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation highlighted how we need to be aware of the risk of 'performativity' with data - where we prescribe exactly the value we seek to measure. 

Outcomes measurement & public value

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

For our second roundtable on outcomes-based contracting around the world, we were joined by 149 in-person and online attendees. Our wonderful Chair Dr Chih Hoong Sin (Traverse) took us on a trip around the world – with experts joining us from the Netherlands, America, Abu Dhabi, Italy, Australia and more. Speakers discussed the importance of stretching the impact bond model to best serve its context. Abha Thorat-Shah, from the British Asian Trust, highlighted the importance of considering the experience of low- and middle-income countries where governments will often not pay for outcomes unlike in high-income countries and the difference in the models of SIBs found there. 

Stretching and flexing the impact bond model: evidence and insights from across the world

Listen to the audio recording of the session.


We were then joined by our keynote speaker Professor Julie Battilana, of Harvard University, and hundreds of people from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Prof Battilana explored the different roles of 'agitators, innovators, and orchestrators', and explained how all three types of changer-makers are needed to 'harness power for positive change'. Battilana argued that we need to begin these changes through greater civic education at a younger age.

‘Power can be dirty, but it doesn’t have to be’ - Professor Julie Battilana 

This was followed by a panel discussion with experts from both academia and practice. David Knott from The National Lottery Community Fund spoke about how they were altering their practice as an organisation by 'changing our model of delivery to be relational'. Knott elaborated on this, saying that they were creating a significant power shift in relation to their grantees. Mehreen Shahid (Safe Delivery Safe Mother) spoke from her experience in Pakistan, emphasising the need to engage at a grassroots level, recognising the significant role of civil society.


Listen to the audio recording of the session.

Deep dives

In the afternoon, we took a deep dive into three areas of focus. The first session saw participants explore the promises and practical challenges associated with ‘sustainable public procurement’, ‘buying social’, ‘community benefit clauses’, ‘social value’, and similar movements around the world. We heard a number of presentations from different countries and settings on procurement and social value. Mat Ilic (Catch22), Jonathan Bland (E3M), and Julian Blake (Stone King) all agreed that 'the frustration is that we often end up with transactional processes that are not relational, excluding social enterprises that want to work with the government and have a footing in local communities'.

Achieving wider wellbeing through public procurement

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

In the second deep dive, SOC22 participants had the chance to discuss how central government might best support local institutions to (re)build local governance capacity. Michal Shinwell (Camden Council) argued for the importance of balancing commonality with an approach that truly reflects local concerns, a point that Conor Sullivan and Martha Macgregor (Bridges Outcomes Partnerships) echoed by foregrounding the importance of balancing the set outcomes of central government with solutions and practicalities met by localities.

How can central government (re)build local governance capacity to support the levelling up agenda?

Listen to the audio recording of the session.

The third session, chaired by Salim Bensmali (Meridian), saw participants look at how to use outcomes-focused funding to better align social and financial objectives while dealing with multiple (and often conflicting) goals of stakeholders. Megan Goulding, from the USC Price Center for Social Innovation, shared that "interview participants expressed the need for a more simplified SIB investment model and structure", and suggested that fund-based investment approaches might offer a solution.

Beyond impact bonds -unlocking investment for outcomes-focused social programmes

Listen to the audio recording of the session.