Technical guide: Designing outcome metrics

Published: 10 February 2015

The concept of commissioning by outcomes is becoming central to efforts to make radical improvements to public services in an era of enormous social and economic change. 

Social impact bonds (SIBs) are one of a range of mechanisms to enable public commissioners to focus service delivery on achieving specific outcomes. At its most fundamental, a SIB is an outcomes-based contract between a public sector commissioner and an investor/​group of investors. Success within SIBs is measured by changes in social outcomes. A crucial stage in the development of SIBs is the selection of outcomes and the measurement and metrics used to evaluate success. It is at this point that turning the theory into practice can present a range of technical challenges. This guide has been produced to help organisations considering outcomes-based commissioning to overcome these technical challenges.

This guide is part of a series of technical guides produced by Social Finance. These are intended to accompany the journey an organisation may take when developing a SIB; and it is important to note that outcomes selection and measurement is not usually the first step in this process. To find out more about the Social Impact Bonds and how they work, please refer to our previous Technical Guide.

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