Bridges Social Impact Bond backs adoption scheme

Bridges Ventures has announced the first investment of the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund in a new adoption scheme that has been launched today at the Houses of Parliament.

The fund is investing in the ‘It’s All About Me” (IAAM) scheme – a programme developed by eighteen  voluntary adoption agencies and structured as a social impact bond (SIB)* –  that will support local authorities’ adoption services by finding, training and supporting families to adopt children who are recognised as harder-to-place, and who otherwise would probably remain in care. Bridges Ventures and Big Society Capital will invest £2 million to fund the project from the start.

The Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund was launched in April by Bridges Ventures with Big Society Capital acting as a cornerstone investor alongside the Omidyar Network, Panaphur and the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund. The first fund of its kind, it was developed to provide investment and support to charities and social enterprises to deliver programmes designed to improve social outcomes in areas such as education, employment, housing and care for vulnerable young people.

The IAAM scheme is the fund’s first investment and has been developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and professional services firm Baker Tilly. Under the scheme, the adoption agencies will actively seek adoptive families for children who are often overlooked because of their age, ethnic background, or because they are seeking placement with siblings. Crucially, it will also offer training in therapeutic parenting tailored to the specific needs of the child and 24-hour support during the first two years after adoption to reduce the risk of placement breakdown.

Each local authority will pay around £54,000 per child for the service in four instalments – at registration, at placement, after one year, an after two years. This equates to around half the amount it would cost to keep a child in care over the same two year period. In its initial phase the IAAM scheme will aim to place 100 children per year but this could rise to 300 if further funding is secured.

This project is also the first recipient of a grant from the Social Outcomes Fund, a £20 million fund set up by the Cabinet Office to provide ‘top-up’ contributions to outcomes-based programmes – social impact bonds or payment-by-results contracts – designed to deal with complex and expensive social issues. This grant of £1 million will be used alongside payments from local authorities for the first 100 children taking part in the scheme. Investors will only receive repayments from the local authorities and the Social Outcomes Fund based on the specific social outcomes achieved.

Antony Ross, Partner and Head of Social Sector Funds at Bridges Ventures, said: “We are very excited to support this pioneering project that it’s not only the first investment of the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund but also the first SIB developed by the voluntary sector and the first to receive a grant from the Social Outcomes Fund. It has the potential to provide a loving home to around 2,000 children in care dramatically improving their life chances, and save local authorities as much as £1.5 billion in fostering fees.”

Jim Clifford, Head of Non-for-Profit advisory at Baker Tilly and Chair of IAAM Adoption said: “Adopting older children is not always easy, as many carry with them the legacy of neglect and trauma in their early years. However, with the right training and support, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. We have had a fantastic response to the IAAM scheme from local authorities so far, many of whom recognise the benefit of working closely with the voluntary adoption sector.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said: “Social investment and new investments like SIBs, give us the chance to try new approaches to tackle social problems. It is a new source of funding to social enterprises and we are proud to be leading the world in developing it.”

For more information please contact
Hannah Randall – Capital MSL
0207 307 5330


Notes to Editors

About Social Impact Bonds: A Social Impact Bond is a contractual agreement between a public sector commissioner, a service provider – a charity or a social enterprise – and a group of investors. The investors fund the service provider’s programme which creates a positive social impact and improved outcomes for the beneficiaries. If the programme is successful, payments are made by the public sector from the savings made by improved social outcomes.

About Bridges Ventures: Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges Ventures”) is specialist fund manager dedicated to using an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at-large.
It was established in 2002 with a mission to use its commercial expertise to achieve focused social or environmental benefit, as well as attractive returns for investors. Bridges Ventures has raised seven funds to date which total almost £350m: Sustainable Growth Funds I, II and III, Bridges Sustainable Property Fund, CarePlaces Fund, Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund and Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund.