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This monthly policy briefing covers our latest interviews, blogs and events, as well as sector news from around the world, and reflections on recent conferences.  If you are interested in getting updates each Monday, sign up at  https://tinyletter.com/ukgolab 

GO Lab 

Blog SIBs in the Netherlands: The state of play and the way forward – We interviewed Bjorn Vennema, co-founder of Social Finance about the Dutch experience of SIBS. In part 1 we look at the state of play and in part 2 we discuss the need to strengthen and grow the SIB ecosystem moving forward. GO Lab 

Blog Value, it’s not just in the numbers – When considering how to address complex social problems, value can’t just be viewed in financial terms. Mehdi Shiva and Leigh Crowley look at how numerical data and moral values come together. GO Lab

Blog What is a democratic right and what is a philanthropic gift? The final session of this year’s Social Outcomes Conference will be a discussion about the impact that large scale philanthropic giving has on the role of the state in democratic societies. Mara Airoldi will chair the conversation between Jonathan Wolff, Professor of Public Policy at Blavatnik School of Government, and Tom Hall, Head of Philanthropy Services at UBS. GO Lab 

Guest blog – We need to upskill governments for impact bonds – Andreea from the GO Lab has written an article for Apolitical about the state of play of impact bonds, the changing mindset of government and how the market continues to grow. Apolitical 

International news 

Opinion Atlanta Environmental impact bond breaks into public market – In January 2019 Atlanta closed a $14 million environmental impact bond (EIB) for storm water management. The fund has now been offered publicly and is now fully subscribed. This may be seen as a validation of the market appetite for EIBs. Conservation Finance Network
 
News Why one non-profit wants to change the way Minnesota distributes equity money – Twin Cities Rise is a non-profit focused on helping ex-offenders gain career skills and help them land a stable job. It is doing this through a pay for performance model that rewards positive outcomes. Minnpost
 
News Ohio to encourage experimentation to address social problems – Ohio is joining other states in encouraging innovative social experiments to address social problems such as opioid addiction, infant mortality and environmental pollution. Lexington Herald Leader  

Opinion Financing methods to make Africa a superhero continent – This article looks at transforming the public sector in African countries and how SIBs may play a part. A quick read that shares aspirations and future innovations. Africa Business Insight

Impact investing

Opinion Three ways to get better outcomes from blended finance – Blended finance is gaining traction and this article argues that it can meet its full potential through: i) taking a problem first approach; ii) use the most simple financial structure that can address the problem; iii) understanding the landscape and aligning efforts. Impact Alpha
 
Opinion Everything and therefore nothing: we must reject the impact’ investors adding nothing new – This blog is by Luciano Balbo, founder of Italy’s first venture philanthropy foundation and Italy’s first impact fund. It argues that impact investing is about much more than good intentions and transactional impact measurement, it’s about supporting genuine social innovative and taking risks to help a new project thrive. Pioneers Post 

Publication Inching to impact: the demand side of social impact investing – This paper analyses the barriers faced by non-profits in engaging with social impact investing. It argues that there is a need to assess differences using a policy field framework. 

Report The promise of impact investing in India – Each chapter of this report shares learnings from a survey and research around impact investing in India. Chapter 3 offers information on innovative financing tools, such as SIBs and DIBs, the market in India and the future of these novel approaches. The report also provides trends on measurements of impact and steps for the industry to define impact more transparently and robustly. Brookings

Series The Impact Papers - A new series exploring, celebrating and asking honest questions about investing for impact – featuring leading thinkers and innovators in the impact space. There are currently three articles in this series. Pioneers Post  

Opinion Mind the gap: Five ways to accelerate investing for impact – Co-founder of the Sumerian Foundation identifies five areas of opportunity for addressing the gap between the capital social ventures have and what they need. They cover research, advocacy, governance, learning and collaboration. Pioneers Post

News – Impact investing institute appoints its first CEO – Former Financial Times journalist Sarah Gordon has been appointed the first CEO of the new Impact Investing Institute. It will be open for business in the autumn. Pioneers Post

SIBs, DIBs and pay for success

Report World’s largest education DIB reports first year results – The world’s largest education DIB that raised $11million to pay for improved learning outcomes for 300,000 primary school children in India, achieved mixed results in its first year. 40% of participating schools either met or exceeded their targets for literacy and numeracy. Devex

Opinion First social impact bond in South Africa shows promise for addressing youth unemployment – After a year, the SIB in South Africa achieved its target for outcomes early, placing 600 young people into jobs. The project will scale up in the next three years, expanding to multiple service providers, and bringing new investors and additional outcome funders on board. Brookings 

Opinion Impact bonds: horns of plenty - The Financial Times features an brief opinion article that argues that pay for performance clauses can cause more harm than good. It looks at perverse incentives, soft targets, and the lack of financial savings. Financial Times 

News Rhinos come to the bond market and other species may follow - There is a planned sale of a rhino impact bond, aimed at growing the population of the endangered black rhino. This is being run by the Zoological Society of London and Conservation Capital. Business Line

News Israel social impact bond to help Bedouins in maths studies – Social Finance Israel has launched a SIB to improve maths performance for high school students in the country’s Bedouin community.

News – EU support for re-integration of Dutch military personnel into labour market– The European Investment Fund (EIF) will participate in a SIB focused on reintegration in the labour market of incapacitated military personnel of the Dutch Army. 1500 former military personnel will be enrolled onto the programme. European Investment Fund  

Opinion – Utkrisht development impact bond: A solution for financing maternal health – This article looks at the DIB that seeks to support maternal health in India over the next three years. It shares how the DIB works, outlining the different actors involved and the story so far. Observer Research Foundation

News Bridges raises £35 million for second pay-for-success fund - Bridges Fund Management have raised £35 million to orchestrate and launch pay-for-success initiatives in partnership with government backers. The Social Outcomes Fund will be used to finance social impact bonds. Impact Alpha

Innovation and accountability  

Opinion Innovative funding models: A new approach to urban blight - Recent research by the Urban Institute explores how new ways of financing can engage new partners and investors and provide local communities with funding sources to address the immediate and long term impact of blighted properties. The research explored pay-for-success as a contracting model.

Opinion ‘The simple answers are wrong’ Toby Lowe on the need for a new kind of accountability in public services – The Centre for Public Impact interviewed Toby Lowe about his work on complexity research and the changes we need to make in order to allow for real, meaningful accountability in public service delivery. Centre for Public Impact

Opinion Banking on impact: What you need to know about results based financing – The world faces a financing gap of $2.5 trillion in annual investments to achieve the SDGs. To fill this, countries are adopting results-based financing (RBF) to fund services. The Global Partnership for RBF has worked to improve services for low income countries, benefitting 11 million people. World Bank

Opinion The quest for innovative ways to finance development – A brief article that argues that traditional aid and government finance are not enough for the scale of the development challenge. Looks at the positives and challenges of SIBs and DIBs. Springer 

Opinion – Labour pledges to push councils into taking back local services – The Guardian comment on the announcement that Labour has made. They argue that it is the ‘biggest council shake-up since the 1980s’. The Guardian

Conference reflections 

Report State of Transformation report 2019 – Helping each other out of the crisis – The Public Service Transformation Academy (PSTA) have published a report that shares a collection of good practice and cutting edge thinking. PSTA 
 
Report The Gathering: Conference Report 2019 – Here are a collection of articles from The Gathering which took place in March this year. It is divided into four themes: Connecting to the social sector, prioritising Impact, building the market, and future gazing and future shaping. Pioneers Post