Most demand for social investment 'comes from service providers to public sector'

Matt Robinson, director of strategy at Big Society Capital, says research by the Boston Consulting Group shows the state is the most willing to pay for social value

About 60 per cent of the demand for social investment comes from organisations that provide services to the public sector, according to Matt Robinson, director of strategy at Big Society Capital.

Robinson said that recent research by the Boston Consulting Group, which estimated that the social investment market could be worth £1bn by 2016, contained a detailed breakdown of the sectors that organisations seeking social investment worked in.

"Looking at this data, and analysing whether those sectors are private, public or a mixture of the two, it suggests that about 60 per cent of the demand for social investment comes from organisations that supply the public sector," he said.

Robinson said the state was "the sector most willing to pay for social value", and this meant that Big Society Capital would "have to make sure that social investment is useful for supporting relationships with public sector commissioners".

But he said he also expected to see a growth in the use of social investment in other sectors.

"This survey hasn’t looked at demand in every sector," he said. "It’s captured only the 5 per cent of the economy where social organisations are arguably most active. What this survey hasn’t necessarily captured is sectors like food, clothing, art and culture, where there may also be a need for social investment in the future.

"And another important use of social investment in the future could be business-to-business services. The state market is growing, but we think other markets could grow more."

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