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Main Practices of and Enlightenments Drawn from British Social Impact Bonds (No.92, 2019)


By Hua Ruoyun, China Center for International Knowledge on Development & Ma Yinong, Peking University

Research Report, No.92, 2019 (Total 5592) 2019-6-14

Abstract: Traditional social services in Britain used to be troubled by problems caused by separated providers, inadequate preventive measures and rigid models. In 2010, the country launched social impact bond projects in the field of social governance, signing performance contracts through public-private partnerships. Commercial investors provide funds for certain social service project to achieve specific goals and outcomes. If the goal is realized, the government will return funds to investors with some profits. If not, no rewards will be given. Compared with traditional social service supply models, social impact bonds can improve service quality by integrating multiple entities, increase sustainability by eliminating capital restrictions and promote service innovation through risk sharing. The UK practice shows that social impact bonds are conducive to improving the transparency of government procurement of social services, improving the ability of social service providers, enhancing social service performances and contributing to sustainable social development. It is advisable for China to draw references from the British experience and conduct trials of social impact bond projects.

Key words: social impact bonds, government purchase of services, Britain