Cabinet Office sets up centre of excellence to boost social impact bonds

The Government Outcomes Lab has been established in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University

Cabinet Office: partnership will run for five years
Cabinet Office: partnership will run for five years

The government has announced the creation of a new "centre of excellence" to speed up the development of social impact bonds and encourage innovative public sector commissioning.

The new venture, called the Government Outcomes Lab, has been set up in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and will focus on finding new ways for the public sector to commission services while achieving better social outcomes, the Cabinet Office said in a statement today.

The partnership between the Cabinet Office and the university will run for five years and will develop research and provide practical support to the third sector, the statement said.

It said the Government Outcomes Lab would enter an "intensive phase of design and recruitment", including the appointment of a new director.

Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "SIBs represent a revolution in the way government can deliver public services. They generate huge potential savings for the taxpayer, the prospect of increased revenues for charities and social enterprises and returns to social investors.

"The Government Outcomes Lab will give local authorities the support they need to develop more SIBs more quickly and build a centre of research excellence within the UK. It will continue our world leadership in this area and help us to build a truly compassionate society."

Professor Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said: "Governments everywhere will benefit from research, data and training that helps them to focus on outcomes and to work better with the private and not-for-profit sectors.

"The partnership with the Cabinet Office brings the strength and momentum of the Blavatnik School of Government together with a powerful transformative initiative in the UK government."

Matt Robinson, director of strategy and market development at the social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital, said the development was exciting news.

He said: "This will see a step change in the intelligence, data and support provided to anyone wanting to use outcome-based approaches to reforming public services."

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