Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund
The Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund was the first fund anywhere in the world dedicated to investing in Government-commissioned outcomes contracts.
We have now supported 20 outcomes contracts, helping over 40 mission-driven providers deliver better life outcomes to vulnerable people in areas like children’s services, education and homelessness.
A social impact bond is a funding mechanism that enables Bridges (and other social investors) to support a social sector organisation to deliver an outcomes contract – by providing the working capital necessary to fund the programme, plus any additional management resource required to deliver the best possible outcomes for beneficiaries.
We believe this greater focus on outcomes can help Government understand what’s working and drive better results within key policy areas – because it gives service providers more freedom to innovate, as well as a strong incentive to over-deliver. And SIBs ensure that a broader range of providers are available to deliver these contracts.
Having a dedicated fund (and a team to invest it) enables us to accumulate knowledge, resources and experience – improving our ability to deliver and de-risking the portfolio.
Career Connect, a charity providing career-focused guidance, advice and support, is delivering a Bridges-backed social impact bond programme to support disadvantaged 14-19 year olds across Greater Merseyside.
Career Connect coaches deliver structured ‘Mental Toughness’ courses for young people, with a focus on ex-offenders, those in or leaving care and those with learning difficulties. If young people on the programme improve their attendance and behaviour at school, achieve educational qualifications, and move on to further education or employment, then payments are made to the programme by the Department of Work and Pensions Innovation Fund.
In 2015, the Career Connect programme was so successful it became one of the first SIBs in the world (alongside the Bridges-backed Teens & Toddlers SIB) to over-deliver against its social objectives and repay all the loan capital (plus interest) to its social investors. It has now been recommissioned to deliver a second programme.
HCT Travel Training
Specialist travel training gives young people with special educational needs and disabilities the skills and confidence to travel independently on public transport.
HCT Group, a social enterprise bus operator that uses its profits to provide community transport services, deliver a travel training SIB, backed by Bridges, that will work with up to 200 children with special educational needs and disabilities over the course of five years. Benefits will include improved access to after-school and other social clubs and leisure activities, increased confidence and motivation to learn, access to further education opportunities, and work experience.
The key difference between this programme and previous contracts is that the Local Authority will only pay when the young person has been signed off as able to travel independently. They will then make further payments after the young person sustains independent travel over the next year. This way, the Local Authority is only paying for successful outcomes with Bridges providing the initial capital to deliver the programme and taking the risk if the training is unsuccessful.
The areas of added value to date [include] the continual engagement of SIB investors, beyond the initial investment […] the added layer of support from the Board, including the flexible use of funding to achieve defined outcomes; pragmatic decision-making and a rigorous information and reporting system, focused on outcomes.OPM’s Evaluation of the Essex Multi-Systemic Therapy Social Impact Bond
Investors, Donors & Partners
Big Society Capital
European Investment Fund
The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation
Trust for London
The Highwood Foundation
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer