If there is such thing as a typical grant making trust, the Andrews Charitable Trust (ACT) isn’t one of them. I recently attended ACT’s 50th anniversary celebration, hosted by one of their grantees 2nd Chance in Southwark which is supporting young people into sustained employment. It was a fantastic experience, not least because of the young people who catered and supported the event. It was also a great reminder of the old and new in the voluntary and social enterprise sector, and several themes during the event struck me as relevant for our work in social investment.
Today we announced the winner of the Business Impact Challenge – an innovative new partnership between Interserve, Catch 22 and ClubFinance that has the potential to increase charities and social enterprises’ ability to compete for and deliver public services contracts at scale.
HM Treasury recently announced that from 30th November this year, it will remove tax reliefs of 30% or more for community energy projects. This means they will no longer be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) as well as Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
It’s an important day for social impact bonds (SIBs) as London-based youth charity, Think Forward, has successfully delivered one of the first social impact bonds in the UK to tackle youth unemployment and provide a return to investors.
Southmead is an out of town estate, a few miles from the centre of Bristol. It’s a great place with a real buzz and lots of positives, but it also has its challenges. Southmead has the lowest life expectancy in Bristol, more than 9 years lower than the neighbouring ward of Henleaze, and we’re involved in many projects to try and address that. We want to improve people’s wellbeing and hopefully have an impact on their life expectancy.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ Innovation Fund was launched in 2012 to support payment-by-results programmes that enable disadvantaged young people to participate and succeed in education and training. Big Society Capital has invested in five of these Social Impact Bonds, including Think Forward and New Horizons. This summer, the first cohorts of young people on these two programmes sat their GCSE exams, and far exceed all predictions.
One thing that has grown quite rapidly in UK social investment over recent years is the range of available products. Whether social property funds, social impact bonds, community shares or soon a wider range of ‘smaller ticket’ products encouraged by the Access Foundation’s Growth Fund, there have never been so many social investment products available across the capital spectrum.
Last week, in partnership with a number of charities and social investors, we submitted a proposal to the Spending Review calling for a Local Outcomes Fund to radically improve current approaches to supporting vulnerable beneficiary groups.
"It is a time of unprecedented change in pensions. Auto-enrolment creating millions of new pension savers, there will be £600bn in defined contribution schemes by 2030 and Government has ambitions to create a savings culture. However, current experience suggests that this will be hampered unless individual savers can meaningfully understand and engage with their savings..."
Social investors come in all shapes and sizes – from specialist funds to high-net-worth individuals to ‘retail investors’, normal people like you and me. Ultimately, what we think is important is that any charity or social enterprise who is seeking social investment is able to do so from whichever investment sources are most appropriate to their investment proposition and organisation.
Having previously managed a European Social Fund project, I’ve developed a very close eye for detail, dealt with a lot of data and have experienced a payment by results contract. Despite this, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for my next step into the world of social investment.
Since the launch of the Peterborough Social Impact Bond (SIB), the SIB market in the UK has continued to grow. To-date there have been 31 SIBs in the UK, with more than 50 SIBs in development locally, and more central government outcome-based programmes to be launched in the next few years.