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Books and Guides
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides a guides for Social Investment Tax Relief. It includes:
- Guidance for social enterprises
- Guidance for investors
- Get approval if you’re a social enterprise
- How to claim tax relief if you’re an investor
- Form: SITR Compliance Statement
- Policy on Social Investment Tax Relief
This report, Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing – and Why It’s Urgent (June 2014), by the US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing (NAB) provides a framework for federal policy action in support of impact investing. Simply put, impact investing generates measurable, beneficial social or environmental impacts alongside financial returns. The proposals in this report—some near-term and concrete, others longer-term and more ambitious—have the power to unlock dramatic economic activity and immense positive impact. Ultimately, they may serve as a catalyst to help change the way investors think about long-term risks and returns.
This report from the GECES Sub-group on Impact Measurement features the standard to allow social enterprises of all sizes to better measure and demonstrate their social impact and so help them in their discussions with partners, investors, and public sector funders.
The Social Investment Roadmap from the Cabinet Office UK sets out the steps that the UK government is taking to ensure that there are the right conditions for social enterprises to thrive in the UK through tax relief.
Corporate Procurement has developed a Corporate Strategy for Commissioning and Procurement, supported by a Sustainable Commissioning and Procurement Policy. These aim to ensure that they carry out all commissioning and procurement activities collaboratively and in an economic, environmental and socially responsible manner on behalf of Durham County Council and its key stakeholders, whilst making sustainable purchasing decisions that promote the long-term interests of the communities
The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013. This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) from the UK Cabinet Office and the Efficiency and Reform Group gives guidance supporting the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.
This document from HM Treasury presents a framework for appraising the quality of qualitative evaluations. It was developed with particular reference to evaluations concerned with the development and implementation of social policy, programmes and practice. The framework was devised as part of a programme of research conducted on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
Quality in policy impact evaluation (QPIE) is a supplement to the Magenta Book from HM Treasury and provides a guide to the quality of impact evaluation designs. It has been developed to aid policy makers and analysts understand and make choices about the main impact evaluation designs by understanding their pros and cons and how well each design can allow for any measured change to be attributed to the policy intervention being investigated.
This handbook authored by Jaan Aps from Stories for Impact and the Estonia Social Enterprise Network has recently provoked discussions in Estonia among financiers of Estonian civil society development, including The National Foundation of Civil Society (NFCS) and Open Estonia Foundation.
This short handbook by Juliet Michaelson on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013. This briefing from the National Housing Association by Sara Cunningham outlines the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and examines what the new legislative requirement mean for housing associations’ procurement and tendering processes. It also explains the options that housing associations have if they wish to analyse the social value of their own activities and how this may help in securing contracts with local authorities or other public bodies.
For housing associations the Act applies in two important and distinct respects:
- Housing associations are bound by the requirements of the legislation when procuring a service.
- Housing associations must be prepared to define the social and economic value and impact of the services they offer when tendering for a service from a local authority or another relevant body.
In this paper from the UK Department for Work and Pensions Social Justice is defined and a new set of principles that inform their approach are described:
1. A focus on prevention and early intervention
2. Where problems arise, concentrating interventions on recovery and independence, not maintenance
3. Promoting work for those who can as the most sustainable route out of poverty, while offering unconditional support to those who are severely disabled and cannot work
4. Recognising that the most effective solutions will often be designed and delivered at a local level
5. Ensuring that interventions provide a fair deal for the taxpayer
This “Guide to Commissioning for Value” is written by the SROI Network for the Local Government Association (LGA) as part of the National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning.
New statutory guidance on the Best Value Duty from the Department for Communities and Local Government sets out some reasonable expectations of the way authorities should work with voluntary and community groups and small businesses when facing difficult funding decisions. It falls under the policy of “Making local councils more transparent and accountable to local people”.
The Magenta Book from HM Treasury provides guidance on what to consider when designing an evaluation. It includes information on key issues in policy evaluation, identifying the right evaluation, setting out the evaluation framework, data collection and reporting evidence.
The Green Book is guidance for central government produced by HM Treasury on how publicly funded bodies should prepare and analyse proposed policies, programmes and projects to obtain the best public value and manage risks.
It also covers the evaluation of policies programmes and projects after they have been implemented to find out how well they have achieved their original objectives and how well they have delivered within their original budgets and planned timescales.
This is a State of the Art Review of Big Data written by Duncan Ross for Nominet Trust. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in using Big Data and data science to improve society. Big Data can provide social organisations with opportunities to improve and reshape their services. It represents a combination of a series of trends: the rapid growth in data creation, the ability to store this data at a reasonable price, and the ability to apply sophisticated techniques to it in order to extract knowledge.
This paper from the UK Department of Health and Cabinet Office provides case studies of how five social enterprises have measured their social value. It presents the conclusions of an action research project to assist social enterprises and commissioners to understand better the wider impacts of service delivery and quantify the value in monetary terms.
In 2012, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) commissioned NPC as part of a pioneering project to explore how providers can better measure the effectiveness of their work to rehabilitate offenders.
This paper from Cabinet Office outlines some of the ideas and themes from the discussions held at the G8 Social Impact Investment Forum on 6 June 2013. It sets out:
- the perspectives shared
- the challenges identified
- the actions agreed which will help build an international market
External Databases and Resources
More than 6400 publications have now been selected by TSRC for inclusion in the Third Sector Knowledge Portal - an easy-to-use online library of research, evidence, and analysis.
It has been developed by TSRC in partnership with the British Library and the Big Lottery Fund, and brings together over 6000 works such as: impact reports from third sector organisations; academic research projects; government studies; and more, in one collection of downloads, links and summaries.
The Centre for Social Impact Bonds in the UK Cabinet Office provides information on Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), includes a knowledge box, information on funding, case studies and blogs.
Inspiring Impact is a programme run by a collaboration of UK voluntary sector organisations and aims to change the way the UK voluntary sector thinks about impact. They have developed a range of resources including the Code of Good Impact Practice, Funders’ principles and drivers of good impact practice, Blueprint for shared measurement and more.
This resource from the Ministry of Justice in the UK provides four rapid evidence assessments reports on intermediate outcomes and reoffending.
The reports are: Intermediate outcomes of arts projects, Intermediate outcomes of family and intimate relationship interventions, Intermediate outcomes of mentoring interventions and Intermediate outcomes of peer relationship interventions.
The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) provides useful policy discussion and thought pieces on social value in the UK, including ‘Putting the Social Value Act into action’, by Chris White MP, social value surveys, blogs and videos. Contributors include the Third Sector Research Centre, Big Lottery Fund and others.
The Dartington Social Research Unit is a charity that seeks to improve designing and delivering services for children and their families by promoting the increased use of evidence of what works. Their work spans education, health, social care and criminal justice systems. Their work involves data on children’s needs, information about what works, cost-benefit analysis and how money is spent at the local level. Projects include Investing in Children, A Better Start, Design and Refine and Into One Place.
The Alliance for Useful Evidence is a partnership of The Big Lottery Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Nesta. They are an open-access network of more than 1,600 individuals from across government, universities, charities, business and local authorities in the UK and internationally. The website includes blog and publications about research and useful evidence.
People want to be happy. But do we know what makes us happy, or how society is best organised to promote happiness?
The Wellbeing Programme was founded in 2003 when Richard Layard gave his public lectures on “Happiness: Has social science a clue?” His book on Happiness then followed. The programme has expanded and now includes three main strands:
- Happiness and Public Policy
- Mental health
- Skills and unemployment
The Wellbeing Programme is also responsible for bringing together the members of the Mental Health Policy Group, which in June 2012 published its report How Mental Illness Loses out in the NHS, the subject of which Richard Layard discussed in his lecture “Mental Health: The New Frontier for the Welfare State”.
This blog by Tamsyn Roberts from Cabinet Office UK for the Civil Service Quarterly provides clear explanation of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and how they work. It includes case studies and a handy diagram.
PerformWell is a collaborative effort initiated by Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions in the United States. PerformWell provides measurement tools and practical knowledge that human services professionals can use to manage their programs’ day-to-day performance. Information in PerformWell leverages research-based findings that have been synthesized and simplified by experts in the field. By providing information and tools to measure program quality and outcomes, PerformWell helps human services practitioners deliver more effective social programs.
Training and Courses
The Australian School of Business at the University of New South Australia offers a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact focuses on building the professional capacity of social managers and entrepreneurs of the future, across the corporate, government and third (not-for-profit) sectors, enhancing their capacity to lead organisations creating social and environmental value and to operate in a changed cross-sector social landscape where the dynamism of the market is also directed at social innovation.
The Centre for Social Impact is a collaboration of four universities: the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Western Australia and The University of Melbourne. Their mission is to improve the delivery of beneficial social impact in Australia through research, teaching, measurement and the promotion of public debate.
Working Papers and Research
The world is on the brink of a revolution in how we solve society’s toughest problems. The force driving this revolution is “impact investing”, which harnesses entrepreneurship, innovation and capital to power social progress. This report from the Social Impact Investment Taskforce, Impact Investing: The Invisible Heart of Markets – Harnessing the power of entrepreneurship, innovation and capital for public good, examines what is needed to catalyse the growth of a global market for impact investment. It makes recommendations that can be implemented across Taskforce countries and beyond to deliver better social outcomes and improve millions of lives across the world.
The Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8 have produced subject papers related to the report “Impact Investment: The invisible heart of markets”. Supplementary reports are available on:
- Policy Levers and Objective report
- Asset Allocation
- Measuring Impact
- International Development
- Mission Alignment
- “Impact Investing for Everyone” - A Triodos Bank report produced for the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 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 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, 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.
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 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 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.