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In our November monthly policy briefing we share the report and commentary on scaling and replicating social impact bonds, reflections on the GSG summit in Buenos Aires and themes that the GO Lab will be exploring that are of importantance across the sector. If you want to receive a weekly policy briefing each Monday, sign up

GO Lab 

Event Save the date – Social Outcomes Conference 2020 – #SOC2020 will be on 3-4th September 2020 in Oxford. We had over 220 delegates from across the world this year so make sure to add it to your diary and sign up to our newsletter for updates (at the bottom of our homepage) GO Lab

Opinion The GO Lab reflection - Andreea and Nigel from the GO Lab respond to the report by asking what it is we are trying to scale? As SIBs are so varied we should explore the different dimensions before deciding to reframe them. Our response looks at what can be learned from other countries on how can we improve data and transparency, as well as  ways we can increase capacity for commissioners 

Jobs Internship opportunities at the GO Lab – We are offering paid internship placements for Summer and Autumn 2020. They will be Events Associate, Researcher, Designer in Residence and Data Analyst. If you are interested please take a look and pass onto others across the sector. GO Lab 

Blog Ten Key themes we need to explore – Nigel Ball, Executive Director of the GO Lab writes a monthly blog to showcase his thoughts on research and practice across the sector. This month he shares ten key themes that emerged from the Social Outcomes Conferences and explains why they are important. They include user voices, measuring what matters, data and transparency and more. GO Lab

Opinion Impact bonds are key tools in addressing todays public service challenges – Tanyah Hameed, Researcher at the GO Lab shares the latest on impact bonds and how they may be a catalyst for change. Public Finance 

Opinion Selling a good idea – with bells on – This blog looks at the question ‘if you already have a good idea that works, can a SIB enhance it? It explores the Mental Health Employment Partnership SIB and how this is promoting innovation in mental health. Here you can view the in depth review of MHEP that this blog is based on, it was published in the summer. GO Lab

Scaling and replicating impact bonds 

Report Social impact bond commissioning and replication - A government-commissioned report has just been published looking at the challenges and benefits of commissioning social impact bonds and the potential for replication and scaling. The report presents practical tips to commissioners to facilitate an easier commissioning process and provides recommendations to government to further the replication and scaling of SIBs in the UK.

There have been a number of responses to this report: 

  • The GO Lab reflection - Andreea and Nigel from the GO Lab respond to the report by asking what it is we are trying to scale? As SIBs are so varied we should explore the different dimensions before deciding to reframe them. Our response looks at what can be learned from other countries on how can we improve data and transparency, as well as  ways we can increase capacity for commissioners 
  • Summary from report authors - This blog is written by the main authors of the report, Rachel Woodbridge from Ecorys and Neil Stanworth from ATQ. It summarises the reports key findings, looking at barriers and enablers, as well as key routes to scaling. 
  • Sector press response - This piece by Civil Society summaries the main points in the reports, including the need to rebrand SIBs to make them appeal to a wider audience, and the need to build local capacity. 

GSG Summit 

Opinion A deepening relationship between impact investing and the SDGs – Reflections from the GSG annual summit. There was a ‘marked difference from the summit a year ago’ as the Sustainable Development Goals play a bigger role. It is as if the SDGs give a roadmap for us to make an impact. Devex

Podcast Sir Ronald Cohen: ‘We are overthrowing the dictatorship of profit’ – At the GSG Impact summit in Buenos Aires Sir Ronald Cohen shared his thoughts on the latest on impact investing. He argued that in order to close the $30 trillion funding gap for the SDGs we need impact investing. Impact Alpha 

Paying for outcomes around the world

Online course Private investing in public good: a crash course in social impact bonds – This course by Apolitical is for public servants who want a basic grounding in this policy tool. It will cover the potential benefits, the obstacles to success, and how to start exploring them for your own work. They will send you bite-sizes articles or activities that will take less than 15 minutes, for 5 weeks. Apolitical
Webinar Paying for education outcomes at scale in India – In rural India, nearly three quarters of children in Grade 3 cannot read at grade level. To attempt to address this problem, India is using innovative financing. This webinar will bring together key stakeholders to share lessons learned and work together to find solutions to pressing educational challenges. Brookings

Report Paying for education outcomes at scale in India – This study seeks to investigate the potential and limitations of outcome-based financing for education in India. It finds that whilst impact bonds on not the solution to all challenges, they have the potential to focus financing on impact, promote effective interventions and reinforce the use of data and evidence in decision making. Brookings

Opinion From Colombia to Cameroon: The gradual growth of impact bonds in developing countries – An overview of DIBs, looking at what sectors they are in, who is engaged in them, and who is paying for them. Brookings
Opinion VisionFund International launches its first Australian bond – VisionFund International received its first commitment from Australian investors to provide loans to families living in poverty in low- and middle-income countries. Devex

Opinion Abu Dhabi offerings to use private cash to tackle social ills – The first social impact bond is to be introduced in the Gulf. Gordon Brown said this move was an ‘innovative development’ and predicted it would ‘help transform social provision’ in the Emirates. The National

Press release Abu Dhabi to introduce region’s first social impact bond – Highlights the key details of the new social impact bond in Abu Dhabi. The use of this innovative financial model by the Authority for Social Contribution – Ma’an, is designed to encourage growth within the third sector. Zawya

Press release World’s first $10 million sanitation development impact bond launches – This initiative seeks to bring safe sanitation to some of the poorest and most vulnerable households in Cambodia. Next Billion

Interview Questions for Nobel laureate Michael Kremer – In this Q & A, Michael Kremer argues that we need to improve links between researchers and development practitioners to improve effectiveness and outcomes. He argues that new funding approaches can leverage a lot of extra funds and innovation, including development impact bonds and results based financing more broadly. Devex

Opinion ‘Kangaroo bond’ helps Australians export financial inclusion – Australia’s impact investors have backed 10 domestic social impact bonds. This includes the ‘kangaroo bond’ with VisionFund International, a subsidiary of World Vision. This impact bond will allow foreign companies and organisations to raise debt from Australian investors in Australian dollars. Impact Alpha

Social impact investing 

Opinion A spectrum of solutions: how impact investors are funding the SDGs – Last month governments, business and non-profit leaders met at the UN General Assembly in New York for the Global Day of Action for the SDGs. This article is not directly related to impact bonds but a good overview of where impact investing comes in. Next Billion
Opinion Using measurement to manage impact – This looks at how investors can generate deeper insights into social and environmental impact while bringing concrete business benefits to investees. Stanford Social Innovation Review 

Opinion In pursuit of happiness – can social investment play a role? - In this brief article, Chih Hoong Sin, Director of Traverse, explores how social investment may lead to improving economic and social outcomes. He argues that whilst there have been some issues in the past, we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Traverse

Opinion Could social investment be the answer to our funding crisis? - This article in Third Sector looks at social investments for charities and social enterprises . Only 4000 charities and social enterprises have accessed social investment, but the experts claim there is much more money to be had. Third Sector
Opinion Social investment – is it all just window dressing – Chih Hoong Sin, Director at Traverse looks at the terminology around social investment and how it may create a halo effect around individuals and organisations, and how we need to retain high standards. Traverse