Resources » Topic » Social Impact Bonds

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Books and Guides

Social Finance launched the world’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB) in 2010 and the concept has since been adopted globally. This guide provides a snapshot of the global SIB market as of August 2014.

Since 2007, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Consulting has completed over 400 projects with over 200 organisations across employment, education, community services, health and indigenous affairs. The SVA Consulting Quarterly brings together what they have learned from their work and the insights they have gained in new practices, novel methodologies and fresh wisdom.

This resource from Social Finance UK provides information on their experience in developing SIBs. This tool acts as a template for developing approaches to move more resource into prevention work. The report focuses on Children Services although will be useful for other local authority services areas where there is potential for significant social impact.

Social Finance is committed to providing a range of support for those interested in developing SIB proposals. This could range from full engagement through a detailed feasibility study of a particular intervention or issue area to help with specific parts of the SIB development process (see below for further details of this process). We are aiming to provide a set of tools to help minimise the costs of developing these products and we hope that this guide – which is intended to be freely available – is a useful start point.

This is the first in a series of issue briefs from the Center for American Progress that looks at Social Impact Bonds (SIB) and their value to government agencies. Subsequent pieces will focus on getting the SIB agreement right; models for SIBs and their long-term potential; defining and measuring outcomes for SIBs; and appropriate roles for government agencies in the SIB process.

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.

The Big Society Capital resources provide information and tools for understanding social investment. Information is included in the following categories: Why is social investment beneficial?, How do organisations use social investment?, Types of social investment, The social investment market and How to become a social investor.

Impact Reports

Making their lives better: now, tomorrow and every day is Action for Children’s Impact Report 2014. This report draws on a wide range of evidence, using both quantitative and qualitative data and includes findings from independent evaluations, a variety of measurement tools and services funded through social investment.

Opinion and Comment

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.


This webinar from Social Finance UK looks at Social Impact Bonds (SIB) in Children’s services, focusing on the Manchester Multi-dimensional Treatment Foster care (MTFC) SIB.

In this TED talk, Toby Eccles from Social Finance UK explains Social Impact Bonds (SIB), which help fund initiatives with a social goal through private money and the government pays back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work. He discusses the SIB in Peterborough where it is being used to reduce reoffending rates and in Essex where they are supporting children in care.

Working Papers and Research

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.

This report provides the final results for cohorts 1 of the Peterborough and Doncaster payment-by-results prison pilots.

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.

Published by: , , 2014


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).

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 report by Björn Vennema and Ruben Koekoek for ABN Amro details the opportunities and challenges of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in The Netherlands.

Published by: , , 2013


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 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 report is the first output of an independent evaluation of the Social Impact Bond (SIB) at HMP Peterborough, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice.