Support for Commissioners


In summer 2013, the Big Lottery Fund launched a £40m Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund with the aim of growing the market in social impact bonds and other outcomes based investment instruments. The aim is for organisations, and particularly VCSE organisations, to access new forms of financing to be able to reach more people (particularly those most in need), so they can lead fulfilling lives, in enriching places, as part of successful communities in England. The fund compliments the £20m Social Outcomes Fund launched by the Cabinet Office in November 2012.

Applicants to the Funds will be public service commissioners (such as local authorities) who will use the funding to top up payments to a delivery partner or via a social investment intermediary for providing certain services and delivering pre-agreed outcomes.


Big Lottery Fund has appointed Social Finance in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA) to offer a support package for those developing Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and other Payment by Results (PbR) based social investments as part of Commissioning Better Outcomes.

Social Finance and LGA, who bring a wealth of experience to this area, will work to engage and encourage the development of SIB proposals that could then benefit from the £40million Big Lottery Fund’s Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund or the Cabinet Office’s £20 million Social Outcomes Fund.

Social Finance and LGA will provide a range of support, including the publication of technical guides, development of online tools, holding webinars and production of podcasts, as well as offering workshops, one-to-one surgeries and diagnosis of further development needs. This will support proposals that could then go on to access technical development grants from Commissioning Better Outcomes, leading to a possible contribution to outcomes payments from either or both of the outcomes funds.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair said: “The overall purpose of the contract is to ensure commissioners are supported in their understanding and development of robust SIB proposals so that better outcomes are commissioned for people and communities most in need.

“We also want to encourage the engagement of VCSE delivery providers and potential investors. The contract is therefore an essential piece of architecture that will ultimately contribute to the Big Lottery Fund’s goal to develop the social investment market in a way that supports charities and social enterprises to become more sustainable and grow so they can better serve those most in need.”

David Hutchison, CEO Social Finance said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as the Big Lottery Fund’s contractor on the Commissioning Better Outcomes. The new fund, alongside the Cabinet Office’s Social Outcomes Fund, represents a great opportunity to grow the Social Impact Bond market. We look forward to working with commissioners as they explore the potential Social Impact Bonds have to provide support and deliver better outcomes for the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Cllr Sharon Taylor, Chair of the LGA’s Finance Panel said: “Local government has always been a leader in finding new and better ways of delivering services to improve lives and save public money. Our members are keen to look at how Social Impact Bonds can be used to tackle issues of concern to residents, such as truancy, criminal reoffending and antisocial behaviour. The injection of money from the Big Lottery Fund provides the impetus to get the Social Impact Bond market off the ground. We are looking forward to working with our partners to deliver on this project’s significant potential.”For more information about the two funds, and to submit an expression of interest, visit

More details will follow....