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Considering the frequent claims on the financialisation of public services and a perceived lack of the user voice in SIBs, this panel session examined the emerging evidence on the role of the user voice in impact bonds across the UK and in an international context.

Speakers highlighted the importance of engaging community members and inviting them in a way that feels accessible. Rob Murdoch (Bridges Outcomes Partnerships) stressed “you need to trust the voices of those who are the recipients of the service. Because at the end of the day it is them that are benefitting from the service”. Steve Hindle, from the Elton John AIDS foundation, neatly summed up the importance of listening to the humans that lie behind the contracts: “Policymakers need to hear these stories and understand how people on the ground are impacted by a programme - this is what gives us the best chance of influencing policy".

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