At the inspirational Learning Network Conference run by the Campaign to End Loneliness last week, Lisi Bouchard of Social Finance told us that each lonely person leads to an increased service usage of £12,000 pa. So it’s clear why we need more ideas to reduce loneliness, like Ami. Social Impact Bonds are a way of funding projects which would save money for the public purse by preventing conditions, such as loneliness.
What’s a Social Impact Bond
In 2010, Social Finance pioneered a model that separates the payment for the delivery of an intervention from the payment for the success of that intervention. This is the Social Impact Bond (SIB). Working with a number of partners, we realised that we needed to understand not only the financial costs of a social issue but the value to interested parties, primarily government, of preventing an escalation of the same social issue. Once we had agreed the financial value of preventing or improving a social issue, we assessed the level of investment needed that would cover the costs of the delivery of the interventions and the risks to the investors if the interventions were not successful. The first SIB was launched in September 2010 at Peterborough Prison. It funds rehabilitation services for short-sentence prisoners released from the prison, with the aim of reducing reoffending post-release. To date, a total of 14 SIBs have been launched in the UK, ranging from supporting young people to find work to helping rough sleepers off the streets. Introduction to Social Impact Bonds
Has anyone tried using Social Impact Bonds to reduce loneliness?
NESTA has funded a programme called Rebuilding Connections that reduces loneliness and improves well-being in older age. The programme, run by Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire and a range of public and community care and support services will identify lonely individuals, then match them with trained volunteers to help reconnect people with their communities, as well as facilitating a range of other peer support and social activities. The service is funded using a social impact bond, where payments from commissioners are only made when actual reductions in loneliness are achieved (measured through an accredited loneliness scale). The pilot programme currently has 75 volunteers supporting 150 older people but aims to support 3,000 older people over the next three years, as well as developing open-source tools to help replicate this innovative approach in new areas.
We’d love to learn more about this project and find out if our IT expertise could help in any way.