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Treasury hints at more Social Impact Bond trials

Treasury hints at more Social Impact Bond trials
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Treasury hints at more Social Impact Bond trials

Finance | Vibeka Mair | 20 Apr 2010

The chief secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, has revealed that Social Impact Bond (SIB) trials could be expanded across government departments.

The first Social Impact Bond trial, aimed at reducing the reoffending rate of short-term prisoners in HMP Peterborough, was announced by the Ministry of Justice last month.

Byrne (pictured) has now announced that further government departments are considering using the SIB model:

“The Department for Children, Schools and Families have pledged to explore the potential of SIBs to lever in additional resources to support early intervention approaches with children and young people,” he said in Parliament.

“Communities and Local Government are also working with Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds to enable them to use a SIB approach to reduce health and social care costs among older people. Similarly Bradford Metropolitan District Council are considering applying this model as part of their involvement in the government’s Total Place programme.”

Meanwhile, the Social Investment Taskforce, a group formed by the Chancellor of the Exechequer in 2000, has said in its final report on social investment that SIBs have the potential to become a new social asset class, comparable to microfinance.

Social Investment Ten Years On says SIBs have the potential to unlock an unprecedented flow of social investment for preventative intervention and urges the government to provide funding.

The report also urges government to establish a properly capitalised social investment bank using unclaimed assets from dormant bank accounts. The government has pledged £75m to set up a social bank, but the report warns it is insufficient to capitalise a power, sustainable organisation.

The Taskforce also asks the government to commit to a UK Community Reinvestment Act to promote greater engagement by financial institutions with under-invested communities and recommends the setting up of a dedicated organisation to social investment, with the suggested name Social Investment Initiative.

 

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