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Guidance for Life Chances Fund projects

About the Life Chances Fund

The Life Chances Fund (LCF) is an £80 million fund designed to help people in society who face the most significant barriers to leading happy and productive lives. The fund is dedicated to supporting the growth and development of outcomes-based commissioning through the use of social impact bond (SIB) approaches. The LCF is managed by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and was launched in 2016. It seeks to tackle issues around six key themes: drug and alcohol dependency, children's services, early years, young people, older people's services, and healthy lives. 

There have been three rounds of funding available and these are now closed for applications, these were:

Round One was announced in December 2017 with a focus on drug and alcohol dependency and support for children in care.

Round Two was announced in May 2018 and has a focus on SIBs for early years intervention and youth engagement for those who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Round Three was announced in August 2018 and has a focus on older people’s services and services that support healthy lives. There was also a ‘wildcard’ opportunity that allowed for applications from any other theme to submit.

Life Chances Fund: Full Award press summaries

LCF Development Grant summaries

Specific guidance for your LCF project

Functional Guidance 

Along with DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund we have developed functional guidance to support projects to upload their information to the DCMS platform. There are four main steps to take and you can view the resources below. 

Life Chances Fund - Functional Guidance

Directory of SIB investors  

This directory has been jointly compiled by the National Lottery Community Fund, the Government Outcomes Lab, the Centre for SIBs (DCMS), and Big Society Capital. It includes social investment fund managers, and holders of social investment capital, who have indicated they may be able to invest in Life Chances Fund SIB projects.

Nothing stated in this document represents any endorsement or recommendation of the organisations listed. The information provided is each investor’s own description of their organisation and work. It is up to you to critically scrutinise the information provided.

Directory of SIB evaluators 

This directory sets out the organisations that have general experience evaluating social impact bonds. We offer general information about the organisation and what they do, as well as some of the experience they have had with SIB projects.  

Nothing stated here represents any endorsement or recommendation of the organisations listed. The information provided is each evaluator's own description of their organisation and work. It is up to you to critically scrutinise the information provided. 

Guidance from the GO Lab

The GO Lab are here to support people who have been given LCF funding during the process of developing a SIB. From developing the business case, to managing relationships and designing the service, we have plenty of support available. 

Advice surgeries

The GO Lab team are available on Tuesday mornings to provide advice and support via phone or online. These are for people who seek guidance on key issues relating to the development and implementation of SIBs. 

SIB readiness framework

This online resource explores the considerations that need to be made at each stage of developing a SIB, including best practice and when there’s more work to do. They break down the complex and perhaps unfamiliar processes in bitesize chunks.

Technical guidance

Our technical guidance provides more in-depth support on topics in the SIB readiness framework. This will give you a deeper understanding of the different stages and is written in a clear and accessible way.  

Events & webinars

There are many events scheduled throughout the year that support commissioners who are developing a SIB. They foster peer learning and allow offer opportunities to hear from sector experts. You can also view past event materials, and watch recordings of past webinars.

Past and current SIBs

Our knowledge section has a project database where you can find the details of all the projects that have been launched in the UK to date. We also have numerous case studies of SIBs in different sectors that provide an in depth look at key aspects of the SIB and how it works.