The Cabinet Office is hoping to launch a £20m "outcomes fund" to make it easier for public bodies to issue payment-by-results contracts and social impact bonds for charities, according to the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd.
Hurd told Third Sector the fund would act as a top-up in instances when a public body wanted to run a payment-by-results contract that would save money for a range of public bodies, but when it could not justify using its own budget to set it up.
"We had a conversation with a county council that wanted to do something different in an area of social policy and it said there would be savings for central government," he said. "It wanted to do a social impact bond and wanted us, quite reasonably, to put up some money.
"We saw this would happen a lot, and it would be difficult to get buy-in from several public bodies."
A government report into its progress in growing the social investment market said that the Cabinet Office would consider launching such a fund, but did not say how large it would be.
Those working with the sector, including Sir Ronald Cohen, chair of Big Society Capital, had said that a much larger amount of money was needed for such projects.
Hurd said that more money could be made available if the project was proven to work.
"It would be about £20m, but if it’s proven itself then it can grow," he said. "It will always be a top-up mechanism, though."
Hurd did not say when the fund could be launched.