04 October 2009

Social Policy Bonds become mainstream!

Well almost: to readers of this blog, this will sound familiar:
A more innovative idea, perhaps, is the “social impact bond”, the brainchild of Social Finance. The idea is to attract private capital into solving a deep-rooted problem that is soaking up public money. Take, for example, reoffending by released prisoners, which costs the British government millions of pounds a year. A social-impact bond could raise money to pay for the expansion of organisations with the expertise to reduce reoffending rates. The more money the organisations save the government, the higher the return the bond would pay investors. This goes beyond a standard public-private partnership, which is expected to provide the same service as the state, but more cheaply. The social-impact bond would reward better social outcomes and not merely cut costs. A place in society, 'The Economist', 26 September
I have emailed Social Finance to see if they are interested in the work I have done on Social Policy Bonds. I am glad that the idea of rewarding socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes, as against activities, inputs, outputs or gestures, is becoming more widely accepted. It's 20 years since I first floated the Social Policy Bond idea into the public arena - and about 19 years since I sent information about it to 'The Economist'.

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