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This Government Outcomes Lab report provides findings on seven children’s social care projects commissioned through Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) that are part of the Department for Digital, Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS)’s Life Chances Fund (LCF). The research investigates the justifications and alternative SIB design approaches adopted by local authority commissioners to support children and families ‘on the edge’ of (or already within) the statutory care system. It used qualitative methods, including analysis of key documents, workshops and semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders.

About the Life Chances Fund (LCF)

We are the UK Government’s evaluation partner for the Life Chances Fund (LCF). Through our engaged research, we are conducting multiple, longitudinal evaluations across the portfolio of 30 projects offered funding by the LCF.

The LCF was launched as an £80 million fund from the UK Government’s Civil Society directorate, 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 bonds (SIBs), by providing a top-up payment to local government commissioners in England.

LCF projects are aimed at tackling complex social problems across policy areas like child and family welfare, homelessness, health and wellbeing, employment and training, criminal justice, and education and early years. Most projects are expected to complete provision under the LCF by 2025 – 2026, with the potential for re-commissioning through other funding sources. You can find out more about our role in the evaluation of the LCF here and explore data and visualisations on individual Life Chances Fund projects through our INDIGO Impact Bond Database, which describes the projects’ locations, policy sectors, timelines, and stakeholder networks.

Want to know more about the state of play of impact bonds? Explore our global interactive map to find out data on impact bonds in their various stages of development and policy areas.

Discover our dataset on impact bonds around the world