How The Skill Mill found a new path to impact.

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By Blair Seiler and Sadiq Mussani, Managers at Social Finance

August 2020 saw the launch of The Skill Mill, for which Social Finance provided advisory support. In this blog we explore how and when impact bonds can be a suitable source of investment to scale a social enterprise, using The Skill Mill as a case study.

In 2010 Social Finance launched the world’s first social impact bond (SIB), to reduce reoffending in Peterborough. Since then the market has been shaped by central government support through thematic areas — for example, the Innovation Fund used SIBs to help disadvantaged young people…

The Mental Health and Employment Partnership marks a major milestone.

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Illustration by GoodStudio

In the middle of a global jobs crisis, what chance does someone with a serious mental health problem have of getting a good quality job?

At the best of times, just one in 14 people who suffer with this type of condition enjoy the financial independence, sense of purpose and fulfilment, and social dignity that comes with paid work. Not to mention that employment is one of the best ways to help people recover from mental ill health.

We set up Mental Health and Employment Partnership (MHEP) in 2015 to tackle this deep social injustice.

MHEP was built upon the…

Frontier tech offers an opportunity to measure whether a project has achieved impact, but there are barriers to adoption.

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Photo by Sajad Nori on Unsplash

By Blair Seiler, Associate at Social Finance

This article first appeared on the Frontier Technologies Hub blog

Since October 2020, Social Finance has been developing a pilot, alongside the Frontier Tech Hub and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), to explore using frontier tech to evaluate whether a project has achieved impact, identifying where it can increase the speed, trustworthiness, and cost-efficiency of verifying social outcomes. We chose to zoom in on the use case of outcomes verification for impact bonds (read an introduction to the project).

In this blog we discuss key opportunities to use tech for impact…

Part one: The importance of learning Python.

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

By Celine Gross, Associate at Social Finance.

This is the first part of our ‘How to build your team’s data science skills from scratch’ series, a succession of blog posts offering ideas and practical tips to bring more data into your organisation.

Eighteen months ago, my colleague Chris Owen and I started on Social Finance’s internal data scientist training. Now, we have trained a dozen more data scientists across the organisation, beyond Social Finance’s core data / digital teams. It didn’t require a complex hiring process, nor sending staff on expensive external courses. …

It’s time we started using it properly.

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Photo by Soviet Artefacts on Unsplash

By Tarö Kili, Manager at Social Finance

This article was originally published on Apolitical.

We’ve all been asked to tick a box defining our ethnicity at some point or another, whether when registering with a GP, enrolling a child in school, or signing up to a local service.

If you’re mixed-race like me, this can precipitate a mild existential crisis in the dentist’s waiting room. Which box should I tick? How many hyphens are appropriate? Is it even any of the dentist’s business? These are questions for another day. What I’d like to ask here is where does this data…

Medical science works wonders to help people survive traumatic injuries, but there is a critical gap in supporting victims once they’ve left hospital.

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By Gary Johnson, Health and Employment Partnerships Director of Operations at Social Finance

“It felt like falling off a cliff when I was discharged home. I had no support; I didn’t know how I would ever pull it all together.”

Imagine surviving a life changing injury after a traumatic accident. You’ve gained world class medical treatment from an NHS Trauma Centre, had your body repaired with operations, metal braces and splints, and survived through it all. Then you’re discharged home with little or no follow-up to help you reintegrate into the community and return to work.

This is the experience…

To mark the two year anniversary of our programme, we reflect on the main learnings, achievements and aspirations for the future.

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Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

The End of Life Care Integrator (EOLCI) was established by Social Finance in 2015 to enable health and social care systems to make change happen so that people are able to live and die well in the last phase of life.

In 2018 the team supported the development and mobilisation of a transformation programme around end of life care in Waltham Forest.

At the time, Waltham Forest had one of the lowest rates in the country of people being supported to die in their usual place of residence. While 86% of patients in Waltham Forest reported wanting to die at…

Deep rooted problems demand deep rooted solutions.

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Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

By Dan Jones, Associate at Social Finance.

This article was originally published on Apolitical.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the challenges we face, but they are not new.

Many have deep and complex roots, and have resisted repeated attempts to address them. Public servants around the world are increasingly interested in systems change — reorienting our whole approach to this kind of intractable problem, across the public and voluntary sectors, in order to tackle it at the roots.

More than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously harmed by a current or family…

Social Finance’s Impact Incubator team are looking at the issue of violence impacting young people, to try and understand the root causes of the problem and where there are opportunities to drive systemic change.

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Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

When we started this research we worked with Alika, a consultant with lived experience of both the pressures that young people face, and of working to affect change in this area. He worked within our project team to conduct research and interpret our findings. His contributions have been key in shaping some of our thinking. At the end of his consultancy, we asked him for feedback on his experience of working with us and his broader thoughts on co-production. This interview focused on the experience of co-production with Social Finance rather than the issue of violence itself.

We are really…

In the first of a series, Social Finance co-founder Toby Eccles reflects on the importance of diversity in fulfilling our mission and improving our impact.

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Photo by James McDonald on Unsplash.

At Social Finance we want to make social change happen. We have understood since our foundation that this means we need a diversity of thought within the organisation. Initially we understood this to mean that we would bring rigorous financial and analytical thinking to social problems, as this was often lacking in the sector and was sometimes a barrier to getting engagement from government or other longer term funding streams. Our aim was that by adding financial skills, with a mission focus on improving the lives of disadvantaged people, we could make a difference.

As we grew in experience and…

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