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The Kirklees Integrated Support Service (KISS) Social Impact Bond (SIB) seeks to improve a range of social outcomes for vulnerable adults who are understood to need support to live independently. The project is commissioned by Kirklees Council, with the outcomes contract held by a special purpose vehicle (Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership, KBOP), which in turn manages individual service delivery contracts with independent provider organisations. KBOP is supported by Bridges Fund Management, a specialist impact investment fund manager. The SIB also receives financial support from central government through the Life Chances Fund (LCF).

The KISS SIB is the first site to feature in the LCF supplementary evaluation. This stream of research seeks to rigorously and deeply engage with individual LCF projects. While there have been a number of SIB evaluations to date, most have focused on the effectiveness of the frontline intervention rather than the contracting model. The LCF evaluation aims to grow the evidence base surrounding the application of the SIB commissioning model. The KISS SIB is a particularly promising evaluation site, as it was preceded by similar provision of ‘Floating Support’ under bilateral fee-for-service arrangements between the Council and the same providers. Analysis of this changed contractual arrangement may help to disentangle the effect of the SIB model from that of the intervention.

This report is the first interim output from a multi-year research project. The report focuses on the fee-for-service legacy contracting arrangement in operation since 2003 prior to the adoption of the SIB in September 2019. It looks to provide an in-depth understanding of the implications of the fee-for-service contract on service delivery. The research aims to identify a set of hypotheses through which the SIB model will influence the contracting environment, and ultimately shape management practice and frontline delivery. This will serve as a scaffold for future evaluation activities. Findings relate to early-stage research and are limited and tentative at this point. The findings are specific to the KISS SIB and are not readily generalisable to other SIB projects.