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Social Impact Bonds: from Myth to Reality (East of England regional conference)

GO Lab launch

Date 25 Jan 2018 - 25 Jan 2018

Time 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Location Cambridge, United Kingdom


There has been a lot of hype around social impact bonds (SIBs) over the past few years. Whilst some evidence about their impact is starting to emerge, many myths have grown around them. Are they too challenging to develop? Why should public authorities invest time and resources into this new approach? What role do social investors play in a SIB project?

However, the East of England region has been a SIB pioneer with the HMP Peterborough SIB and the Essex County Council MST SIB, and now Norfolk and Suffolk county councils also have projects in development.

About the event

This event, organised by the Government Outcomes Lab at the University of Oxford, in partnership with the East of England LGA, Norfolk County Council and Suffolk County Council, seeks to separate myth from reality and explain how commissioners in county councils, unitary authorities, clinical commissioning groups and police and crime commissioners in the East of England might benefit from this approach to commissioning and service delivery, and mitigate some of the risks. 

The purpose of this event is to facilitate peer-to-peer learning for local commissioners in the East of England who have developed SIBs or are interested in learning more about this innovative way of commissioning public services. Attendees will hear from some successfully launched projects across the country, and well as to meet colleagues in neighbouring authorities. The event will cover the opportunities and barriers to using social impact bonds to tackle complex social issues, such as social care for children on the edge of care, youth unemployment and substance abuse. 

The event will feature presentations from experienced SIB commissioners, followed by a series of practical workshop sessions in the afternoon, where commissioners will have the chance to share their own challenges and work collaboratively to develop sustainable approaches that build on the local expertise.

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Enhance their understanding of SIBs and their practical implementation
  • Learn more about when a SIB approach might be helpful and when it might not, how to approach the development of a SIB and the pitfalls to avoid
  • Reflect on the opportunities and barriers to using SIBs to tackle complex social issues
  • Ask questions and share their own experiences of developing SIBs

The event is aimed at senior-level practitioners in public authorities in the region and chief executives of selected large VCSE providers. This event is by invitation only.

For further information about this event, you can contact the GO Lab team at

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