The launch of the first Social Impact Bond (SIB) in Peterborough in September 2010 generated an overwhelming public response. The six year Peterborough project has now come to the end of its first year. The most pressing question – have we reduced reoffending sufficiently to generate a return to our investors – will only be answered in Year 4.
We are measured against a very clear metric. The number of reconviction events of our cohort compared to a similar group of short sentenced male prisoners across the UK drawn from the Police National Computer. Against this objective measure, investors will either gain a return or lose their investment. What can we report after one year? We have over 500 individuals on our watch in the community. While engagement in the One* Service is purely voluntary, the proportion we are working with pre and post release is encouragingly high.
There is clear evidence of an unmet need. The enthusiasm for this project from criminal justice experts and practitioners harbours well for its success. Peterborough Prison has aligned some of its services for male prisoners with our programme and has moved to adopt some of our interventions for its female prisoners. The value of a programme which is funded for over six years is tangible both for our service delivery partners and other stakeholders. It enables them to plan and build around it. We are hopeful that not only will this project succeed but that it will encourage others to be bolder in their approach to reducing reoffending in their communities.