Social impact bonds: Supporting vulnerable 14-16 year olds

Published: 13 May 2014

In October 2012 Social Finance was awarded two social impact bond (SIB) contracts from the Department of Work and Pensions Innovation Fund. 

The DWP contracts were awarded to Social Investment Partnerships, established by Social Finance and chaired by Richard Johnson, formerly of SERCO with broad experience in the complex area of outsourced welfare to work.

DWP have traditionally intervened with young people who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) once they reach the age of 18. The Innovation Fund contracts see a shift in this focus. Providers will start intervening with young people at the age of 14 with the objective of preventing them from being NEET at 18. The contracts are structured to incentivise providers to support young people in addressing the two main issue areas most commonly associated with NEET young people: lack of qualifications and exclusion from school.

The DWP has identified a number of outcomes against which the contracts will be measured including improved behaviour, school attendance, educational qualifications and employment opportunities. Outcomes payments from the Innovation Fund will be paid over three and half years. Unlike typical social service delivery, the funding is provided at risk by social investors, including Bridges Ventures, Big Society Capital, Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Impetus Trust, whose financial return is aligned to the positive social impact of meeting preagreed educational, training and employment outcomes.

This report will share our experiences to date, and look forward to how we plan to implement the lessons learned during the next year of service delivery.

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