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Working Papers and Research
Working Papers and Research
This report from the SROI Network outlines an argument for extending statutory audit requirements of Annual Reports. It includes a discussion of gaps and limitations in current legislation in Companies Act that prevent investors from truly understanding social and environmental impact information that may inform their investment decisions.
Smart social investment can bring money to address some of our most enduring social problems. But the pressure is on to prove that these results are achieved. This paper by Iona Joy from NPC shares lessons learnt so far and builds on NPC’s experience in the social sector to suggest how we might achieve better impact measurement for social investment in the future.
The London homelessness social impact bond project, was launched in November 2012. It was designed to bring in additional finance to support innovative services aimed at improving outcomes for a cohort of 830 persistent rough sleepers.
This is the first interim report from the qualitative evaluation. An economic and impact evaluation is being undertaken internally at the Department for Communities and Local Government. The qualitative and impact strands of the evaluation will be brought together in a synthesis report in 2016.
To date, social impact bond providers have valued the chance to provide a flexible service that focuses on sustained outcomes. In turn, service user experiences have been overwhelming positive.
Building the Capacity for Impact is a report from Impetus-The Private Equity Foundation (PEF) on the capacities needed by the social sector to deliver the aims of the social investment market.
This report provides the final results for cohorts 1 of the Peterborough and Doncaster payment-by-results prison pilots.
This paper from Nominet Trust, by Dan Sutch and Kieron Kirkland, explores the meaningful metrics that social tech ventures can use to evaluate the social impact of their work.
To ensure it supports the growth of the social tech venture, evaluation must be purposeful. This purpose comes from identifying, articulating and then evidencing the social, user and financial value of the venture and doing so with the appropriate metrics. These three values are explored in The Triple Helix of Social Innovation.
This report from Inspiring Impact and NPC reviews developments in shared measurement following the publication of Inspiring Impact’s Blueprint for shared measurement and presents our framework for assessing if a sector is an appropriate candidate for shared measurement.
The framework sets criteria, including indicators of drivers and barriers to shared measurement, that can be used to review and grade sectors based on three core factors:
- the sector and its infrastructure;
- current evidence and measurement approaches; and
- the momentum for shared measurement.
Is love an essential requirement for a successful social enterprise? Or is it actually a by-product, the mechanism or even the result of one?
This report, by David Floyd for Intentionality CIC, explores the role that love has to play in social enterprises and in the creation of positive social impact.
This report was written by Nick Temple and Charlie Wigglesworth from Social Enterprise UK. It is the largest and most comprehensive survey since the introduction of the Social Value Act, examining the views of commissioners, their progress in delivering social value, and the role of social enterprise.
Crisis’ report by Julie Rugg, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, presents the findings from an evaluation of the Private Rented Sector Access Development Programme which began in 2010 and was devised by Crisis, working with and funded by the DCLG. The programme funded a total of 153 schemes across England.
This paper from NPC examines the evolution of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) from the perspective of providers and sector experts.
SIBs have evolved enormously since the first one was rolled out with HMP Peterborough in 2010. Today, they provoke mixed reactions, and strong criticisms from some quarters. But overall, charities and social enterprises providing services unders SIBs believe that they deliver strong outcomes for beneficiaries.
Charities are well placed to exploit specialist knowledge in some areas of service delivery. And, while facing a number of hurdles, this paper argues that charities should seriously consider working alone or in coalition to develop their own SIB proposals, and direct government policy towards delivering more effective interventions on behalf of beneficiaries. Charities are also in a unique position to influence the way SIBs are developed and used in the future.
This report by Emma Disley and Jennifer Rubin from RAND Europe for the UK Ministry of Justice presents findings from phase two of the process evaluation of the Payment by Results (PbR) pilot at Peterborough Prison. The pilot uses Social Impact Bond (SIB) investment to fund interventions to reduce reoffending among male offenders released from Peterborough Prison having served short sentences (less than 12 months).
From David Cameron to Ban Ki-moon, Dr Anthony Seldon to Professor Richard Layard, many agree that encouraging well-being is a priority. But what is its role in public policy, particularly with regards to young people? How can we measure progress on such a subjective issue? And what does data on well-being tell us about how girls and boys are faring?
This paper from NPC looks to answer some of these questions and shares new data, with the aim of bringing fresh insight into how to understand and measure the impact of interventions designed to improve the well-being of children in the UK.
The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing and Deloitte worked together in the autumn and winter of 2013 to collect Canadian investor perspectives on Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). They conducted a series of 18 in-person consultations (“interview
respondents”) and collected responses from 62 additional online surveys for a total of 80 potential Canadian SIB investors (“respondents”). This report presents the aggregate findings and insights related to this sample of investor viewpoints.
This report by nef consulting uses an extended Social Cost-Benefit Analysis (SCBA) to compare and contrast the benefits and investment of CARE International’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) in Dakoro, Niger.
The report is available in French and English.
This research paper by Neil Reeder, Gemma Rocyn Jones, John Loder and Andrea Colantonio (LSE) is the second in the Measuring impact beyond financial return series and follows on from Measuring impact and non-financial returns in impact investing: A critical overview of concepts and practice. It draws out points of convergence and divergence in approaches to impact measurement.
Testing out hypotheses set out in the first research paper described above, it is based on information derived from a series of interviews with established impact investors in the fields of the environment; social enterprise; microfinance; and social impact bonds.
This publication from the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), written by Dr Leonora Buckland and with the support of the London Business School, explores how European banks can use their core strengths –financial acumen, investment skills, capital and networks– to actively generate social impact by engaging in venture philanthropy and social investment. It is a compilation of numerous interviews with executives at banks, as well as archival research.
It is widely agreed that GDP is an important yet insufficient measure of national success. In an attempt to broaden the scope for public policy analysis, a lot of progress has been made on developing the measurement of individual wellbeing, but a lot remains to be done on how best to apply these data to policymaking. The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy works to fill this gap and explore how wellbeing analysis can be usefully applied to policy.
Chaired by former UK Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell, the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy, which ran for approximately one year, produced a final report that illustrates the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis and provides original and authoritative guidance on the implications for public policy.
It is published by the Legatum Institute.
How to monitor and evaluate advocacy work as part of development interventions is a significant challenge faced by many advocates. So what are some of the possible solutions? Building on a series of papers, conferences, training and learning from INTRAC consultancy work, this paper aims to share and learn from an INTRAC monitoring and evaluation (M&E) workshop held in 2013. It draws on four case studies presented at this workshop and offers eight key points that organisations should consider when designing an advocacy M&E system, as well as an annotated list of resources and reading materials.
This document provides an update on implementation of the UK Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.
The Social Value Act came into force on 31 January 2013 and requires commissioners to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits when procuring services. This report outlines how commissioners have responded to the act during its first year, and looks at the government’s plans to advance social value in the future.
This report provides a summary of the findings and activity from the first year of the Impact Programme. It provides an insight into the operations of the programme and the progress that has been made in that time. The report draws together material from all of the programme partners and highlights the main findings that have come out of their initial work – from CDC’s interaction with the market, the GIIN’s most up to date research and the PCU’s (PwC) baseline work. It will be of particular interest to donors, members of the investment community and Fund Managers.
Following an exploratory meeting hosted by Philanthropy Ireland and the Social Impact Analysts Association in Summer 2013, a Questionnaire was circulated among practitioners engaged in social impact analysis and those who commission and/or utilise evidence from social impact analysis, with a view to exploring the landscape in relation to interest and engagement on the topic and possibilities for progressing the agenda across the island of Ireland. This document is a report of the responses to the questionnaire.
Philanthropic institutions have been instrumental in helping to launch the Social Impact Bond (SIB) market both in the US and abroad. To explore this work, Social Finance US has released a White Paper which draws on existing research and Social Finance’s on-the-ground experience, as well as interviews with numerous foundation staff and thought leaders. They assessed the role that philanthropy has played and will continue to play in developing the SIB market in the US.
Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA) has now conducted our first exploratory research project to help examine the values, behaviours and practices of social impact analysts, and to gather views and opinions on SIAA’s work. A lot of the information collected has already been used to help shape SIAA’s annual conference and for discussion at board level.
‘Where we are now’ is a summary report of the views expressed during interviews about the current situation for social impact analysts and practitioners. This summary aims to provide a useful insight in to key issues affecting practitioners internationally, such as defining social impact analysis, the evaluation vs social impact debate and developing professional standards.
An Independent Research Report on the Practices, Impact and Implications of Inspiring Scotland’s First Five Years authored by Gates Scholar, Noah J. Isserman, at the University of Cambridge. This report examines, in depth, the practices and methods employed by Inspiring Scotland venture philanthropy fund and it is the result of four years of research.
From Ideas to Practice, Pilots to Strategy is a report from the World Economic Forum which aims to show how challenged in the impact investment sector have been overcome by mainstream investors and intermediaries. It also intends to democratise the insights and expertise for anyone interested in the field. It is divided into four main sections, and contains lessons learned from practitioner’s experience, and showcases best practices, organisational structures and innovative instruments that asset owners, asset managers, financial institutions and impact investors have successfully implemented.
The Single Market Act II states that “the Commission will develop a methodology to measure the socio-economic benefits created by social enterprises. The development of rigorous and systematic measurements of social enterprises’ impact on the community is essential to demonstrate that the money invested in social enterprises yields high savings and income”. The Social Impact Measurement (GECES) sub-group was therefore set up in October 2012 to agree upon a European methodology which could be applied across the European social economy. This paper provides a summary of the report on social impact measurement.
This report from Social Finance UK and the Centre for Global Development presents the findings from the Development Impact Bond (DIB) Working Group. The report explains how DIBs can enable more impact investment in development, by providing a shared platform for governments, donors, investors, firms and civil society to work together to achieve more.
Stephanie Petrick from Impact in Motion, on behalf of the Social Venture Funds, analyses investment opportunities for impact investors in the integration of the long-term unemployed. This study gives a detailed insight into the situation in the UK, German, French and Swiss market.
This article is by Neil McHugh, Stephen Sinclair, Michael Roy, Leslie Huckfield and Cam Donaldson. It provides a rounded critique of social impact bonds (SIBs): a newly developed and innovative financial investment model, developed in the UK and starting to spread internationally that could transform the provision of social services. Although SIBs have the potential to influence delivery by all providers, this article raises three concerns about their possible effects – in relation to their potential outcomes, unintended consequences for the UK third sector, and governance – and then reflects on SIBs as the latest manifestation of the ideological shift which the UK third sector is undergoing.
This is a progress report from Social Enterprise UK published almost one year on from The Shadow State, says that while private firms have been criticised for poor performance, they continue to profit from public services and operate without transparency and accountability.
Do you communicate data and information to stakeholders? These special issues of New Directions for Evaluation edited by Tarek Azzam and Stephanie Evergreen address data visualisation and evaluation. Part 1 introduces recent developments in the quantitative and qualitative data visualisation field and provide a historical perspective on data visualisation, its potential role in evaluation practice, and future directions.
It discusses Quantitative visualization methods such as tree maps, Sparklines, Web-based interactive visualisation, Different types of qualitative data visualisations, and a toolography describing additional data visualisation tools
and software, along with their major strengths and limitations.
Part 2 delivers concrete suggestions for optimally using data visualisation in evaluation, as well as suggestions for best practices in data visualisation design. It focuses on specific quantitative and qualitative data visualisation approaches that include data dashboards, graphic recording, and geographic information systems (GIS).
Readers will get a step-by-step process for designing an effective data dashboard system for programs and organizations, and various suggestions to improve their utility. The next section illustrates the role that graphic recording can play in helping programs and evaluators understand and communicate the mission and impact that an intervention is having in a democratic and culturally competent way. The GIS section provides specific examples of how mapped data can be used to understand program implementation and effectiveness, and the influence that the environment has on these outcomes.
Developing and maintaining a social licence to operate is rapidly becoming core business for resource companies. KPMG has developed 4-step continuum for measuring the value of direct corporate investments in local communities, drawing on social evaluation and engagement methodologies, as well as economic valuation techniques. This publication discusses the methodologies, challenges and considerations for resources companies and government when valuing community investments.
This report by Björn Vennema and Ruben Koekoek for ABN Amro details the opportunities and challenges of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in The Netherlands.
Briefing 47: Barriers to employment from the Centre for Mental Health presents what works for people with mental health problems. Paid work is essential for the wellbeing and financial security for many of us. However, for those with mental health problems who require extra support there are numerous barriers to attaining employment. This report looks at what interventions work as well as where gaps exist in evidence-based interventions and what might be tested to develop that evidence. It includes models such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) and some provided by the Work Programme and Work Choice.
In early 2013, the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital came together, encouraged by John Kingston, to commission this research by Dan Gregory, Common Capital, into the future of social investment, with particular regard to the infrastructure that supports the market. This research outlines a vision for the social investment market and the ‘infrastructure’ required to deliver it by taking stock of the current state of the market and to making recommendations for the future.
This report is from the Social Market Foundation (SMF), by Nigel Keohane, Ian Mulheirn and Ryan Shorthouse. Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are an innovative way of commissioning public services. Private or philanthropic investors provide the upfront finance, with government only paying them a return if and once social outcomes are achieved. However, the number of SIBs currently underway is small, and our analysis finds that they are unlikely to appeal to mainstream investors unless some major hurdles can be overcome.
This report explores the variety of payment-by-results (PbR) approaches, what is standing in the way of SIBs and how to help the market promote SIBs.
Social impact bonds have attracted much attention in recent years. But there is a concern that there is a limited number of investors prepared to supply the capital for future bonds. Allia developed its Future for Children (FfC) bond to test the retail market’s appetite for investing in a social impact bond. The bond was structured around a social programme to help children on the edge of care. NPC evaluated the bond, and the results of the evaluation are detailed in this report.
This working paper from Impact Economy is by Maximilian Martin and is Volume 4 in the Impact Economy Working Papers series. Impact Economy has worked on impact investing with a number of clients and partners since the inception of the firm. Over more than a decade, the author of the study has been involved in a variety of senior roles in the pioneering efforts that have led to the creation of the concept of “impact investing” in 2007-2008, investment ideas such as contingent return models that link a financial return to a social outcome, and in their mainstreaming.
Subjective wellbeing data is becoming increasingly popular in economics research. The wellbeing valuation approach uses wellbeing data instead of data gleaned from preferences to attach monetary values to non-market goods. This method could be an important alternative to preference-based valuation methods such as contingent valuation, but there are a number of significant technical deficiencies with the current methodology. It is argued that the current method derives biased estimates of the value of non-market goods. This discussion paper by Daniel Fujiwara presents Three-Stage Wellbeing Valuation, a new approach to valuation using subjective wellbeing data that solves for the main technical problems and as a result derives estimates of welfare change and value that are consistent with welfare economic theory.
The report by Charlotte Ravenscroft at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) looks at how a small group of UK charitable funders use and share evidence in practice, particularly how they find their evidence, use this evidence and share the evidence to inform the future decisions of others - funders, practitioners, and policymakers.
This report, from Forfás and DJEI, features the research requested as part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2012 on the potential of social enterprise to create jobs and identifies the actions required, in funding, procurement, etc., by Government and other relevant bodies and agencies to create jobs in this sector.
This paper from the UK Cabinet Office provides an update on the social investment market. They seek to support the growth of the market so that social enterprises can achieve more. They will do this by
- increasing the amount of money available for social investment
- increasing the demand for social investment
- creating an environment that encourages social investment opportunities
The Social Impact Analysts Association’s (SIAA) Principles of Social Impact Analysis Mapping Exercise provides a summary of principle sets, governing different approaches to, measurement, analysis, reporting and use of learning from social impact assessment and evaluations. This resource was developed by the SIAA Working Group on Principles.
Eibhlin Ni Ogain, Lucy de Las Casas, Marina Svistak co authored this publication from NPC’s work on Inspiring Impact. The report is about shared measurement, which involves charities working towards similar goals reaching a common understanding of what to measure, and developing the tools to do so. The report discusses the benefits and challenges associated with shared measurement, and through analysis of twenty approaches, examine how it is developed and draw lessons for future initiatives.
This report by Eibhlin Ni Ogain, Sarah Hedley and Tris Lumley presents the new suite of tools to help social investors, and those seeking social investment, that Big Society Capital commissioned using a team comprising NPC, the SROI Network and Investing for Good with the aim to embed a robust approach to impact in their work.
The tools presented here are:
- An outcomes matrix, which segments outcomes within the social welfare and environment arenas into 13 outcome areas.
- Outcomes maps, which drill into the detail of the outcomes matrix, providing overviews of the key outcomes, indicators and data sources commonly used in each of the 13 areas.
- Guidance on investor best practice.
Charities and commissioners increasingly see collaboration as a way to access new funding, grow and improve services. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To avoid the risks, charities need to understand what makes collaboration a success. NPC and Impetus have joined forces to explore collaboration because they believe it has the potential to improve the sector’s collective impact. This report by Angela Kail and Rob Abercrombie highlights some of the less talked-about issues that connect collaboration with social impact.
The Outcomes Star is a case-management and outcomes-measurement tool developed by Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise in the UK. This guide provides a practical approach to implementing the Outcomes Star that will ensure quality and consistency.
The Impact Investor Project was established in 2012 as a two-year research partnership between InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, CASE at Duke University, and ImpactAssets. The goal was simple: supplant the guesswork and conjecture in impact investing with solid evidence of high performance and, in the process, expose the concrete practices of outstanding funds for use as the foundation for a more sophisticated and successful market.
Impact Investing 2.0 profiles twelve funds who work in vastly different sectors, from microfinance in India to sustainable property in the UK, and have accordingly pursued very different investment strategies and approaches to social impact.Their success across such a broad set of parameters offers many lessons for the industry and beyond.
CGIAR is implementing a change process that aims to develop new approaches for research and innovation, focus research activities and increase the collaboration among centres and with other partners. An essential component of the change process is the creation of 16 research programmes, known as CGIAR Research Programs; Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), which started operations in January 2012, is one of them.
This report Javier Ekboir, Genowefa Blundo Canto and Cristina Sette for CGIAR describes a pilot project that developed a
methodology that seeks to contribute to answering important questions about RTB’s impact pathway by identifying the actors RTB is collaborating with. The methodology used a user-friendly, Internet-based survey to collect information about active collaborations between RTB-financed researchers and a wide range of partners.
Several tools have been developed in the last three decades to manage not-for-profit research activities. Most of these tools have focused on research outputs or outcomes, while few have analysed the processes of research and innovation to identify emerging problems and opportunities during the course of a project. This brief from CGIAR by Javier Ekboir, Genowefa Blundo Canto and Cristina Sette presents a cost-effective methodology that can be used to monitor changes in research networks.
This working paper from Neil Reeder and Andrea Colantonio (LSE) provides an overview of the underlying concepts of impact investing as a form of socially responsible investment. Drawing on relevant literature, this paper casts a critical eye on the roles and responsibilities within measurement, making more explicit the subjective interpretation of social and environmental return (SER) by investors, and the clash of suppositions taken from other older measurement traditions.
This paper by Ruth Puttick and Joe Ludlow introduces the Nesta Impact Investments Fund and the standards of evidence they use to ensure their investments make a positive social impact.
Making an impact by David Pritchard, Eibhlin Ni Ogain and Tris Lumley from NPC, offers the first representative picture of the UK charity sector’s response to the challenge of impact measurement. NPC surveyed 1,000 charities with incomes over £10,000 to understand what has changed in charities’ impact measurement practices, the drivers behind measuring impact, and the benefits and challenges that it brings.The report identifies steps to be taken to improve the practice of impact measurement, fund impact measurement itself, advise charities on how to use the data, advance policy and facilitate shared outcome frameworks.
E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd prepared Accelerating Impact: Achievements, Challenges and What’s Next in Building the Impact Investing Industry for The Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. It includes sections on Impact Investing: What It Is and Why It Matters, Achievements and Challenges: What’s Happened So Far, and What Hasn’t, Opportunities and Directions: What’s Next?
The Framework of Outcomes for Young People by Bethia McNeil, Neil Reeder and Julia Rich and the Young Foundation is designed to highlight the fundamental importance of social and emotional capabilities to the achievement of all other outcomes for all young people.
It proposes a model of seven interlinked clusters of social and emotional capabilities that are of value to all young people, supported by a strong evidence base demonstrating their link to outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, and health.
It sets out a matrix of available tools to measure these capabilities, outlining which capabilities each tool covers, and key criteria that might be considered in selecting an appropriate tool – such as cost or the number of users.
It outlines a step by step approach to measuring these capabilities in practice, that is illustrated in four case studies that exemplify how the Framework might be used by providers, commissioners and funders.
Ziel dieses Working Papers ist die Betrachtung der derzeit populären Konzepte des Social Impact Measurements und insbesondere der SROI-Analyse vor dem Hintergrund bereits länger bestehenden Konzepte der (ökonomischen) Evaluation. In Anknüpfung daran wird das logische Modell bzw. die Wirkungskette, als Grundlage für Evaluation und quasi als Pendant dazu, die „Theory of Change“, die im Stiftungs-Bereich propagiert wird, thematisiert. Als eine spezielle Methode des Social Impact Measurements, die jedoch ebenso den Cost Benefit-Analysen der ökonomischen Evaluation zugerechnet werden kann, wird schließlich auf die SROI-Analyse mit ihren Vorteilen und Chancen sowie Nachteilen und Schwächen eingegangen.
This working paper from Olivia Rauscher, Christian Schober, Reinhard Millner and the NPO Competence Centre aims to analyse the popular concepts of social impact measurement and, in particular, of the SROI analysis against the background of concepts of (economic) evaluation that have been known and applied for a long time already. In this connection, the logic model or the impact chain, as the basis for an evaluation and, so to say as its counterpart, the “theory of change”, which is playing an increasingly important role in the area of foundations, is discussed. Finally, the SROI analysis with its advantages/opportunities and disadvantages/weaknesses, is examined as a special method of social impact measurement, which, however, can also be placed under the category of cost benefit analyses of economic evaluation.
This working paper, by Julian Cox, Matt Bowen and Oliver Kempton for New Economy, documents and discusses research work being carried out in Greater Manchester to understand and identify if it is possible to robustly value social outcomes. The research has focused on the ongoing Community Budget programmes across Greater Manchester. The paper presents a methodology for valuing social outcomes and suggests how such an approach can be used and taken forward by practitioners, commissioners, analysts and suppliers of programmes across Greater Manchester.
This report from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) addresses the following issues:
- the impact of charity law on trustees;
- the future of the Charity Commission;
- the law on Public Benefit;
- the means of redress available for and against charities;
- the regulation of fundraising; and
- the law of campaigning and political activities by charities.
This comprehensive report on Social Impact Bonds (SIB) examines how SIBs might be applied in two programme areas in the US: homelessness and criminal justice.
This document by Ingrid Burkett, Knode, outlines the building blocks for Place-based Impact Investment in Australia, including possibilities for some early funds. The intent is both to illustrate the potential and also to serve as a call to action to explore and develop the opportunities for this type of approach to produce genuine financial, economic and social outcomes. The approach deliberately provides both a financial perspective and the conditions for successfully achieving impact in communities.
This briefing from the Audit Commission considers the potential benefits for local authorities of using payment by results (PbR), the risks involved and how to mitigate them.
At a time when PbR is high on the political agenda, the briefing sets out to help councils understand what it entails, and whether it is right for their circumstances. As most schemes are at an early stage, the Commission has examined the issues that local commissioners should consider if they are to use PbR successfully, drawing on some national and international examples.
The briefing suggests that there are five principles that any PbR scheme needs to meet if it is likely to succeed. These are:
- a clear purpose;
- a full understanding of the risks;
- a well-designed payment and reward structure;
- sound financing; and
- effective management and evaluation.
This paper by Claudia Wood, Jo Salter and Phillida Cheetham explores how social housing providers can face up to the dual challenges of increased demand and fewer resources by doing what they do best – providing early, low level supports in an integrated fashion, to ensure resources go further and to generate greater cost savings for the NHS, social care and criminal justice systems.
This paper by Elise Wach from the Institute of Development Studies analyses some of the current approaches and frameworks for evaluating ‘Inclusive Business’ impacts. It finds that while they shed light on the complex network of effects that businesses have and the ways in which some firms are attempting to contribute to development, they are unable to provide information about the actual impacts of business activities. More, higher quality, and less partial ‘Inclusive Business’ evaluations are needed to better enable us to harness the potential for business to contribute positively to development.
The Wheel has published a new report on the state of impact measurement in Ireland’s community, voluntary and charity sector. The report is based on research conducted by Sandra Velthuis, an independent consultant on behalf of The Wheel in November 2011. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation funded the project.
This Talking Points publication, from PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre, provides an approach to measuring social impacts and looks at practical steps to achieve wider adoption of Payment by Results (PbR) schemes across government and the public sector.
Deepening spending cuts and sluggish economic growth is driving Government to do things differently. Engaging and incentivising voluntary and social enterprises to tackle social issues and improve outcomes for vulnerable groups is a key part of the Big Society programme.
Government has embarked on a number of pilot PbR programmes. The expectation is that PbR will deliver new and enhanced services to address social needs that, in turn, will lead to better outcomes and consequently reduce public exchequer costs.
In order to understand whether these outcomes are achievable it is important to understand how social impacts can be measured, monetised and traced to actual reductions in public sector activities and/or expenditure.
This paper by Daniel Fujiwara from the LSE launches a national discussion on identifying the evidence needs to prove the impact of adult learning for decision making at local and national level. This piece of research flows from two pieces of NIACE work: on behalf of the Local Government Association exploring the changing strategic role of adult learning and skills in communities; and our work for the Skills Funding Agency completing Social Return on Investment (SROI) analyses with a sample of Adult and Community Learning Funding projects, in partnership with the SROI Network. Using the Well-being Valuation (WV) approach, this paper shows that adult learning adds value to many wider agendas.
Ahead of Third Sector and New Philanthropy Capital’s annual Charity Impact Measurement conference
(London, 16 October 2012), Third Sector conducted a survey with over 240 organisations to explore current
trends in impact measurement. This report summarises the key findings and results of that survey.
This paper, written by Andrea Westall, an Associate Fellow of the Third Sector Research Centre and a Strategy and Policy Consultant, provides an overview of the different tools and approaches that are being used and developed and discusses the implications for smaller organisations. NAVCA’s Local Commissioning and Procurement Unit provide practical information, advice and guidance on public service delivery by voluntary sector organisations in communities across England.
The 2012 study reports from Eurosif (the European Sustainable Investment Forum) detailed figures against the most common sustainable and responsible investment strategies adopted by European investors and shows that each of these has outgrown the overall market since 2009.
Ex ante impact assessment is a tool and process to estimate the likely future effects of policy proposals, and a Social Impact Assessment (or SIA) concerns the social effects rather than the economic, fiscal, environmental and so on. Well-conducted SIA can support evidence-based policy-making, strengthen the mainstreaming of social protection and social inclusion into other policy areas, and facilitate stakeholder participation in the whole process. But it has become clear that SIA is not a panacea for ensuring that government policies help achieve social objectives. Nor is it well developed throughout the EU. This Peer Review from the European Commission is concentrated on one aspect of the problem — that of appropriate methodologies, tools and data sources, as illustrated by real-life cases. It builds on past work which compared and analysed different ways in which SIA is carried out in the Member States and studies which reviewed methodologies suitable for assessing employment and social impacts.
This discussion paper, by Mike Brewer from the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, discusses how Member States can best develop effective ex ante social impact assessment; the intention is to focus the discussion on
methodology, tools and data sources, rather than on processes, structures, or measures to stimulate demand for Social Impact Assessments. It is focused on tools and methods for performing ex ante impact assessments.
This paper by Uli Grabenwarter and Heinrich Liechtenstein summarises the main findings from research supported by IESE Business School and the Family Office Circle Foundation, based on interviews with more than 60 impact investors. The paper defines impact investing, identifies the diverse investors and how they have succeeded or failed and explains why the popular assumption that impact investing involves a trade off between financial gain and social impact is wrong.
This paper by Professor Fergus Lyon from Middlesex University and Dr Malin Arvidson from Southampton University sets out to explore the process of social impact assessment in charities, voluntary organisations, and social enterprises. The core
questions relate to why organisations embark on social impact measurement exercises; what guides decisions regarding the way organisations choose to investigate their social impact and how they use the results. It argues that social impact assessment and reporting constitutes an essential strategic tool for organisations in building and maintaining relations of different kinds between the organisation and surrounding stakeholders.
This paper, by Anju Malhotra, International Center for Research on Women, Sidney Ruth Schuler, JSI Research and Training Institute and Carol Boender, JSI Research and Training Institute, reviews the literature on women’s empowerment and suggests supporting empowerment both as an end in itself and a way to educational, economical and health development. It begins with a discussion of the various conceptual frameworks of women’s empowerment, and then examines the ways in which women’s empowerment projects have been implemented and measured, ending by stressing the positive development outcomes of women’s empowerment.
This paper by Daniel Fujiwara and Ross Campbell considers three techniques for the valuation of non-market impacts in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Revealed preference and stated preference are two ‘market based approaches’ which have been referenced in the Green Book for some time. This paper introduces a third approach, involving the measurement of subjective well-being, which has been gaining currency in recent years.
This report is the first output of an independent evaluation of the Social Impact Bond (SIB) at HMP Peterborough, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice.
This report, by Hannah Pavey, Sarah Hedley, Tris Lumley from NPC, explores how and if funders help their grantees to monitor and evaluate the work they do. Most grant-making trusts and foundations recognise the importance of monitoring and evaluation, and are keen for the charities they fund to assess the outcomes they achieve. But how many funders actively help their grantees do this? It is still quite rare for funders to offer charities support on measuring impact—research conducted by
New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has shown that few funders consistently provide monitoring and evaluation support, and one
in three never do.
This report by Joe Ludlow (2010 Clore Social Fellow) and Belinda Vernon for NPC provides a framework in which to think about the importance of links between the activities of different charities in achieving positive outcomes. It aims to encourage thinking beyond the the boundaries of a single organisation.
It argues that:
- Charities benefit from understanding the impact networks in which they operate, and their roles within those networks.
- Charities can improve the delivery of outcomes by working with their impact networks to collaborate, to identify gaps and reduce waste.
- Larger charities and funders have distinct, important roles in making impact networks work effectively.
This briefing paper by Gianni Zappalà, published by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), outlines a framework for understanding and solving social problems.
CFG has an Impact Reporting Steering Group chaired by Paul Breckell, Managing Director of Corporate Resources at RNID:Action on Hearing Loss. This group feeds into the development of CFG member services and policy work around impact reporting.
With an increased emphasis on transparency and accountability, demonstration of social value and payment by results, being able to look meaningfully at and communicate the overall impact of your organisation is becoming more and more important.
In February 2011 the summary report, by Paul Breckell, Kate Harrison and Nicola Robert, Impact Reporting in the UK Charity Sector was published jointly by CFG and Cass Business School. The report was the result of a collaborative piece of research into the current state of impact reporting in the UK charity sector.
This report from the Centre for Social Justice is a policy report from the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Working Group chaired by Dr Stephen Brien. It argues that a core aim of government is to improve social outcomes; yet for most government expenditure the real value of outcomes is rarely considered or even understood. It shows recent governments to have placed more emphasis on the management and monitoring of public services, but it is not obvious that this has delivered better value for money – the true effectiveness of most policy is still poorly understood. If government cannot determine where public spending delivers results and where it does not, both the taxpayer and society as a whole will continue paying for ineffective and inefficient programmes.
The paper proposes a framework through which both central and local government can improve the effectiveness of public spending. This framework is based on a number of social value approaches explored in the Review. The government needs to clearly articulate outcomes, and develop the internal capability to enable timely and accurate measurement of both the outcomes delivered and the costs incurred. Outcome-based government means focusing on those initiatives that genuinely change people’s lives: more often than not, tackling root causes rather than simply treating symptoms. Changing life outcomes can transform the lives of individuals and their communities, and result in savings to the taxpayer.
This paper by Joy MacKeith from Triangle Consulting seeks to describe the development process for the Outcomes Stars as a suite of tools which are designed to simultaneously measure and support change when working with vulnerable people as service users. It describes the original process of development of the first Star, in homelessness services in the UK, and subsequent roll out to other client groups and in other countries. The paper indicates the theoretical and philosophical under-pinning of an approach which aims to embody both research and values-based practice in empowerment and respect for the individual.
The Development of the Outcomes Star by Joy MacKeith was originally published in Housing Care and Support: A journal on policy, research and practice. This paper describes the development process for the Outcomes Stars as a suite of tools which are designed to simultaneously measure and support change when working with vulnerable people as service users. It describes the original process of development of the first Star, in homelessness services in the UK; and subsequent roll out to other client groups and in other countries. The paper indicates the theoretical and philosophical under-pinning of an approach which aims to embody both research and values-based practice in empowerment and respect for the individual.
This paper by Dr Malin Arvidson, Professor Fergus Lyon, Professor Stephen McKay and Dr Domenico Moro from the Third Sector Research Centre examines the position and origins of Social Return on Investment (SROI) before identifying some emerging challenges. It draws out implications of these challenges for those using impact tools and those interpreting the results of SROI exercises. It also identifies a future research agenda that can strengthen the method. While the issues raised here are essential to developing SROI further, they are also valid for more general discussions regarding the proving and improving of the social value added by organisations.
This paper from Oxfam summarises a two-year research engagement project with the investment community on their role in contributing to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Many charities are very good at telling people about what they do—their outputs. But often, they struggle to translate this into what their work is actually achieving. How have their activities led to tangible changes in the lives of those they seek to help? NPC’s report by Eibhlin Ni Ogain, Jane Thomas, Mathilde Williams, Sarah Hedley, Sarah Keen and Tris Lumley looks at how charities in the UK talk about impact, and provides advice on good impact reporting.
The report details NPC’s analysis of the annual reports, annual reviews, impact reports and websites of 20 of the top 100 UK fundraising charities, highlighting examples of good practice, and offer advice for charities wishing to take the report’s findings on board, and take practical steps towards communicating what matters, in the most effective way possible.
This working paper is by Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan, Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard Business School.
Leaders of organisations in the social sector are under growing pressure to demonstrate their impacts on pressing societal problems such as global poverty. We review the debates around performance and impact, drawing on three literatures: strategic philanthropy, nonprofit management, and international development. We then develop a contingency framework for measuring results, suggesting that some organisations should measure long-term impacts, while others should focus on shorter-term outputs and outcomes. In closing, we discuss the implications of our analysis for future research on performance management.
Do learning networks really make any difference? Do people ever apply what they have learnt? And how does this help the poorest people we are trying to assist? This paper from International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) argues that learning networks should not fear or dodge such challenging questions. Taking them seriously throughout the life of a learning group can help ensure it remains relevant and effective. There are relatively simple, ‘good enough’ ways to monitor and evaluate. What is needed is the courage and commitment to make it happen.
This paper from Pietro Micheli and Jean-Francois Manzoni, published in Lone Range Planning, argues that the design of an strategic Performance Management (SPM) system and the definition of its roles are fundamental factors determining its success and impact on business performance.
This discussion paper, by Tim Dixon and Andrea Colantonio at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) gives the full narrative to a three year EIBURS research programme and illustrates what (and how) we can learn from different European cities in terms of understanding and measuring the social dimension of sustainable urban regeneration.
A growing group of investors around the world is seeking to make investments that generate social and environmental value as well as financial return. This emerging industry of impact investing has the potential to become a potent force for addressing global challenges. But how might it succeed or fail? Will it take the next five to 10 years? 25 years? Or will it not happen at all?
This report by Jessica Freireich and Katherine Fulton for Monitor Institute examines impact investing and how leaders could accelerate the industry’s evolution and increase its ultimate impact in the world. It explores how impact investing has emerged and how it might evolve, including profiles of a wide range of impact investors. The report also provides a blueprint of initiatives to catalyze the industry.
The strategy was completed in January 2009 with lead funding and support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
Local Wellbeing: Can we measure it? by Mandeep Hothi, Marcia Brophy and Nicola Bacon for the Young Foundation, presents proposals for measuring well-being to support local authorities and their partners in the shift to Comprehensive Area Assessment, the new local government performance assessment framework.
This paper by Paul Dolan, Tessa Peasgood, and Mathew White discusses the “economics of happiness”, of which there is increasing interest, and provides a detailed review of literature on this topic. The evidence suggests that poor health, separation, unemployment and lack of social contact are all strongly negatively associated with SWB. However, the review highlights a range of problems in drawing ﬁrm conclusions about the causes of SWB; these include some contradictory evidence, concerns over the impact on the ﬁndings of potentially unobserved variables and the lack of certainty on the direction of causality. We should be able to address some of these problems as more panel data become available.
This discussion paper, by Tim Dixon with Andrea Colantonio and David Shiers at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD), examines the evolution of the concepts of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) (or Responsible Investment (RI)) and Responsible Property Investment (RPI) and compares their meanings with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) (or Corporate Responsibility (CR)) and Corporate Governance (CG) within the context of the wider sustainability agenda. The increasing emphasis of financial institutions and private sector real estate developers to focus on urban regeneration projects in the UK and Europe is examined in the context of (1) the growth of public and private partnership arrangements (PPPs), one of a range of joint venture and partnership vehicles which have emerged, and (2) real estate asset allocation by financial institutions as part of a diversified investment portfolio.
This report, by Howard White, reviews the methodological and practical issues in conducting studies on impact, drawing on the experience of the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank. Impact evaluation provides a measure of aid effectiveness, that is how good development aid is at reducing poverty. Critics of aid argue that there have been few attempts to measure its impact. This may have been true in the past, but there is a growing body of literature on impact evaluation.
This paper by John Hailey and Mia Sorgenfrei for International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) responds to the current climate in which NGOs are under pressure to invest in evaluation and impact assessment. Funding constraints, calls for accountability, and concerns about quality and effectiveness have led to demands for more sophisticated performance measurement strategies. The authors chart how, historically, performance measurement systems have undergone similar evolutions in the public, private and non-profit sectors: from product to process orientation; from quantitative to qualitative methods and indicators. The development and relief arena presents its own challenges, as it is characterised by complexity, unpredictability and continuous change. This paper flags up key issues for practitioners such as how to choose appropriate approaches, how to apply them in a culturally sensitive way, how to ensure stakeholder participation and how to mobilise adequate resources.
In the early 1990s, a non-profit social enterprise, The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund [REDF] began to analyse its social return on investment (SROI) as a means to illustrate the value generated through an investment in its programmes, expressed in monetary terms. As the methodology developed, it became a key tool for REDF to more effectively evaluate its achievements against its objectives, manage its performance and communicate results. While the true value of many social impacts can not be monetised, the SROI calculation is a straight forward approach to demonstrate value creation for society to social investors of all profiles.
This paper from the London Business School, nef and Small Business Service provides a guide to understanding and using SROI.
John Francis McKernan’s PhD thesis, Truth, Objectivity and Subjectivity in Accounting defends the idea that we can have truth and objectivity in accounting.