Welcome to an interesting range of articles devoted to the debate around SIB. I will avoid further comment, the useful input is all in these articles!
The introduction of social benefit bonds was announced by the NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, in the state budget brought down in September 2011. At the time, we noted that the bonds would be directed at charitable trusts and philanthropists, rather than mums and dads, and, more particularly, at institutional investors – the typical buyers of bonds.
The bonds draw on the concept of Social Impact Bonds or Pay for Success Bonds, first introduced in the UK in March 2010. The idea is that investors will fund social programs, thereby generating public sector savings.
Last week, development blogger and thinker extraordinaire, Duncan Green, was in town promoting his book, “From Poverty to Power,” and giving a public lecture.
Among the range of topics that he covered, one that got my synapses pulsing was how to promote “innovation” in development – especially in a context of declining aid budgets and an obsession with results and accountability to the public for every penny (or do we now have to say nickel) spent on development.
Under such pressures, most organizations are more likely to play it safe – go with what is tried and true and get expected results – rather than introduce new ideas and initiatives. While innovation may generate some big winners, it also presents a high degree of risk and a good degree of failure. So how do you manage for (uncertain) results and promote innovation?
St Andrew’s Healthcare, one of the largest charities in the UK, has been told by commissioners that calling itself a social enterprise will help it win contracts.
And some charities simply call themselves a ‘social enterprise’ as it is a condition for winning funding.
The strength of the social enterprise brand within commissioning was highlighted at yesterday’s Charity Law Conference during a panel debate on social enterprise.
The debate, which asked whether social enterprise enhanced, confused or devalued the charity brand, included speeches from Caroline Mason, chief operating officer at Big Society Capital; Stephen Lloyd, partner and senior counsel at Bates Wells and Braithwaite (BWB); Luke Fletcher, a partner at BWB andDebra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the Directory of Social Change.