Projects

Essex County Council Social Impact Bond for Multi-Systemic Therapy

OPM Group has been conducting a three-year evaluation of the first local authority-led Social Impact Bond in the UK and worldwide

Background

Essex County Council, with funding from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office, commissioned the evaluation of the Essex SIB with the aim of learning from the experience and informing the development of future SIBs. The evaluation is the only one in the UK, to date, that focuses on the impact of the SIB itself (rather than the impact of the intervention procured through a SIB), and looks at whether this model for commissioning adds value.

What did we do?

Three annual iterations of surveys, interviews and focus groups with a range of commissioners in Essex and other local authorities that have commissioned MST (but not via a SIB); with social investors; with intermediary organisations; with strategic and operational staff from the service provider; with other professionals in the local area working on related services; as well as key stakeholders in the three Central Government departments.

Two additional unique features of this work are: (a) the convening of an international practice share group to draw on emerging learning from the global community and to feed in lessons learned from Essex; and (b) an economic assessment that surfaced (and monetised) a number of ‘invisible costs’ associated with the SIB, borne by Essex County Council, the service provider, and others.

Outcome

This work has attracted significant attention from the outset and on an ongoing basis. Formative lessons learned are regularly fed back not only to Essex but also to the Central Government departments. The Essex experience has directly influenced later SIBs. Within Essex, we facilitated three learning sessions for commissioners and those in commissioning support functions. There has also been annual conferences to disseminate findings and lessons learned more widely.