How have SIBs developed in the UK?

In the UK, as government resources have shrunk and demand for services has increased, commissioners and delivery organisations have sought new approaches to do more with less. The UK government has launched several funds backing SIBs (see list below). Socially motivated investors from the private sector have often provided the working capital loan.

Key events in the growth of SIBs in the UK

Central government SIB funds are underlined

  • November 2010:  First SIB launched – One Service, Peterborough, UK

  • April 2012:  Big Society Capital launched – £600m social investment provider

  • April 2012DWP Innovation Funds 1 and 2 launched  – £30m, funded ten SIBs

  • July 2013Commissioning Better Outcomes and Social Outcomes Funds launched – £40m Big Lottery Fund to support development of SIBs and subsidise outcomes

  • December 2014:  Department for Communities and Local Government Fair Chance Fund launched – £15m, funded seven SIBs focused on housing, education, and employment for homeless youth

  • March 2015DWP Youth Engagement Fund launched – £15m, funded four SIBs for youth education and employment

  • July 2015:  First successful UK SIBs funded through DWP Innovation Fund repay investment (Career Connect, Teens and Toddlers, Adviza)

  • July 2016:  Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) launched by UK Cabinet Office with Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, to achieve better social outcomes through innovative public sector commissioning

  • July 2016Life Chances Fund launched – £80m, with aims including increasing social innovation and generating public sector efficiencies

  • July 2017:  Peterborough results published  

  • August 2018: renewed commitment to SIBs in the Civil Society Strategy (and the Rough Sleeping Strategy)

Next: What types of issue can SIBs help to address?