CRESR Seminar - Policy Forum: The possibilities and pitfalls of social investment for people and communities experiencing multiple disadvantage

Start date: 
Wed, 12/12/2018
Closing date: 
Wed, 12/12/2018
Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Stoddart Building, Room 7139
Event contact: 
Ian Wilson & Ben Pattison (Tel: 0114 225 3073)

4.00-5.30 pm


Eleanor Carter, University of Oxford
Rebecca McCartney, Big Society Capital
Mark Tuckett, Sheffield City Council

Eleanor is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Government Outcomes Lab. Her research focuses on innovations in social policy and outcomes-based commissioning. She joined the Blavatnik School of Government in 2016 having previously studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield. Eleanor’s doctoral research investigated the application of outcomes-based commissioning within the UK Government’s welfare-to-work programmes. The analysis explores how particular programme design innovations map onto concerns of variable and potentially neglectful service provision and assesses whether developments in payment structure and governance arrangements deliver value for money to commissioners. Before moving to Oxford Eleanor gained experience from the policy-maker perspective working as an advisor for the Social Investment and Finance Team in the UK’s Cabinet Office and through collaborative research projects with the Department for Work and Pensions. Eleanor’s work has been published in a range of journals including Social Policy and Administration and Journal of Social Policy. Key research outputs have also been translated into policy submissions and Eleanor frequently advises on policy design and evaluation strategies for government departments and voluntary sector organisations.

Eleanor will discuss the key policy developments associated with the social investment/impact investing agenda in the UK. She will outline points of tension and leading critiques from the academic community. Eleanor will put forward some further ‘promises’ of the social investment approach and how improving the potential of social impact bonds can be a tool for public service reform. She will conclude by considering the spending review 2019.

Rebecca is an Investment Director at Big Society Capital. She is focused on how social investment can help communities across the UK to improve lives, and also on small scale finance for charities, social enterprises and enterprises in disadvantaged communities. She sits on the investment committee of Natwest's Social and Community Capital and founded the CFA UK's Social Impact Investment interest group for investment professionals. Prior to joining Big Society Capital, she worked in the charity sector and across the UK Government.

Many small businesses located in disadvantaged areas struggle to access the capital they need to sustain or grow their operations, which hinders their ability to employ local people and stimulate local economic activity. Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) are one route to meeting the capital needs of these small businesses, however they too struggle to access commercial capital at scale. Big Society Capital used social investment as a basis to launch a range of initiatives with partners to address these challenges, with the aim to leverage significant capital into the CDFI market in the coming years. Rebecca will present Big Society Capital’s approach to CDFIs as a case study for how social investment can be used, and how capital can be accompanied by evidence building and convening stakeholders to drive systems change.

Mark Tuckett is based at Sheffield City Council and is leading Sheffield’s Public Service Reform programme: identifying and implementing changes to how public services work, in pursuit of better outcomes for people living in the city, and with a particular emphasis on changes that require the concerted involvement and leadership of multiple parts of the public sector.

Mark will share some perspectives about the suitability and applicability of social investment to finance transformation projects; particularly its applicability to complex areas of public spending.

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