Tag Archives: public private partnerships

The Immorality of Innovation – the Tale of Social Impact Bonds

meghan-joy-john-shieldsMeghan Joy and Dr. John Shields

In a post sub-prime mortgage induced financial crisis, another financial tool that risks increasing precarity for those most vulnerable is becoming increasingly popular in a political climate of austerity.


Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are a social policy tool that claims to solve complex policy problems, such as homelessness, unemployment, and recidivism, through the scientific methods of financial modelling. Actively supported by several governments worldwide – there are currently 54 projects in 13 countries – SIBs provide a mechanism to turn the risky behaviours of vulnerable individuals into a form of profit making for private impact investors. SIB projects target population groups, such as the homeless, troubled youth, and obese, whose problems result in costly use of emergency-oriented public services such as shelters, prisons, and hospitals. In this way, SIBs are positioned as preventative, allowing future savings on costly public programs. These savings, also known as impacts, outcomes, or results are measured for their social value created (Dowling & Harvie, 2014). The SIB instrument places a current price on anticipated social value based on the assessed future risk that participants will not be reformed. Risks become a reward as investors bet on the extent to which vulnerable people will be transformed.

Continue reading The Immorality of Innovation – the Tale of Social Impact Bonds

Public–private partnerships, management capacity and public service efficiency

Tom Entwhistle and Rhys Andrews
Tom Entwhistle and Rhys Andrews

By Tom Entwistle and Rhys Andrews

Caught between falling tax revenues and increasing expenditures, governments across the world are looking for new ways of extracting economy and efficiency from the public sector. As in the past, the claim that business can deliver public services more efficiently than the state, provides a key inspiration for reform.

Governments can engage the private sector in public service delivery in a number of different ways. They can open clearly specified functions – like cleaning, refuse collection or grounds maintenance – to a competitive tendering process and then contract with the organisation which promises best value.  Alternatively, they may externalise – or, in more loaded terms, ‘privatise’ – the delivery of a whole service, Continue reading Public–private partnerships, management capacity and public service efficiency