Independent Review of Big Society Capital


Written by

Nicola Pollock, Review Team Lead, The Big Society Trust

The deadline for submissions has now passed. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the review. The Independent Review Panel are collating the submissions and will provide an update in due course.

The Big Society Trust (BST) is responsible for the oversight of the work of Big Society Capital, Access-the Foundation for Social Investment, Fair4All Finance and Youth Futures Foundation, in particular to ensure they are remaining true to their respective missions. BST has recently been charged with commissioning an independent, quadrennial review, with the overall brief of examining the effectiveness of all four organisations. Big Society Capital is the first organisation to be reviewed in delivering against its stated object*. A Review Panel has been established to take this forward.

The Review Panel’s approach will be to highlight Big Society Capital’s key achievements and identify strategic issues where it believes further consideration is required for sustained success in delivering the organisation’s published goals. In particular, the review will consider how effective the organisation has been in delivering the social investment systems-change and in achieving social impact. The Panel will also analyse its cost-effectiveness in meeting these objectives.

The output of the review will be a focused report intended for the executive teams and Boards of BST and Big Society Capital. It will be published on both organisations' websites and a copy emailed to all parties interviewed by the Review Panel.

The review is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of Big Society Capital's compliance with all relevant policies, or of its current governance and operations. Nor will it consider whether there should be changes to the organisation’s mission.

The Review Panel is seeking input from stakeholders, many of whom will be approached directly, but all stakeholders are invited to respond to key questions that will be posted on the websites of BST and Big Society Capital. Responses will be treated in confidence within the Review Panel and, to ensure this, will be directed initially to an external firm which is supporting the Review.


  1. Effectiveness in social investment system change and social impact.

    How effective has Big Society Capital been in promoting and developing the social investment market in the UK and establishing itself as a social investment wholesaler? In particular, how effective has Big Society Capital been in delivering social investment systems change and in achieving social impact? What issues should be addressed or opportunities developed to deliver enhanced or more rapid systems change and social impact?

  2. Cost-effectiveness and Process

    How cost-effective has Big Society Capital been in meeting its objectives? What changes in process or systems should be considered? What overlaps or gaps in relationships between Big Society Capital and other institutions (commercial or government or voluntary) should be addressed?

*The published object of Big Society Capital is:

To act as a social investment wholesaler and generally to promote and develop the social investment marketplace in the United Kingdom. (In carrying out its object Big Society Capital shall: ensure that all dormant account monies are used in a manner that is consistent with being a social investment wholesaler; and seek to achieve and maintain financial self-sufficiency.)