Five Guiding Principles

It might feel at times as if there is so much detail that the big picture gets lost. These five guiding principles, based on the common experiences of SIB providers, offer the perspective we often need along the journey.


  • 1) Stay true

    The service, and the outcomes it delivers, must be aligned to your mission and strategy. If the outcomes from the SIB are not aligned with your other work, performance management will be difficult, and you may neglect monitoring outcomes that matter to you and to other funders. The SIB is not the answer or the goal that leads the conversation. It is only a tool to help unlock the opportunity and enable the biggest impact.

  • 2) Learn from your partners

    The commissioners, investors, and all your other partners are there to help, not make the process more difficult; they have experience and expertise that you might not – use the opportunity to learn from them, and involve them early and often. Learn from experienced SIB p articipants and don’t reinvent the wheel or try to do everything yourself.

  • 3) Empovering through data

    One of the greatest challenges, and opportunities, of delivering a SIB is the level of rigour and discipline it imposes around data and performance management. Use this as a catalyst to empower your organisation and embed data-driven practice into your culture. Try to bring your organisation to the point where you all see data as a means to continually learn and improve practice, rather than a reason to punish.

  • 4) Be Pragmatic

    The most common issue faced by delivery organisations is over-estimating their outcomes, under-delivering what they promised, and having to course-correct during delivery. Invest the time before signing the contract to pressure-test all your assumptions about the beneficiary flow and your resources in delivering the intervention. Be pragmatic and realistic. Much better to practise caution than to breach contract!

  • 5) Commissioner’s requirements are key

    Recognise that since the commissioner is paying for results, the commissioners’ perspective and requirements are key to the SIB. At the beginning of SIB development, take time to understand the commissioners’ needs before investing in detailed technical modelling.