Australia’s First Social Impact Bond is Growing Stronger By The Year
Tuesday, 5th September 2017 at 4:21 pm
Australia’s first social impact bond, the Uniting Newpin Social Benefit Bond (SBB), has recorded positive growth for the fourth year in a row, with more than 200 children returned to family care, while 55 families were prevented from having their children enter the out-of-home care system.
The Newpin SBB is a financial partnership between the NSW government, Uniting, and Social Ventures Australia (SVA), which “works with parents to create safe and nurturing family environments so children can be restored from out-of-home care, or prevented from entering care in the first place”.
SVA raised $7 million of capital to first fund the SBB in 2013, which allowed for the maintenance and expansion of Uniting’s Newpin Program.
Elyse Sainty, director of impact investing at SVA, told Pro Bono News that a SBB saved the Newpin program from permanent closure.
“Uniting had been running the Newpin program at a small scale for some years, but it didn’t have direct government funding, they were effectively covering it from their own balance sheet and were about to close it down,” Sainty said.
“But Uniting were successful in a proposal to enter the first [SBB] pilot contract in Australia, and it was attractive to them because they saw it as a long-term sustainable funding for a program they knew was having terrific impact on the lives of vulnerable families.
“The government saw it as attractive because they could see a path to tangible, cashable savings, as well as the social benefits. For Uniting they could scale the program up instead of shutting it down, and reach more children.”
There are currently five Uniting Newpin centres in New South Wales, with plans to build an additional four centres to open over the coming financial year.
Sainty said she was confident these new centres could continue the success of the program.
“We have hopes we’ll see the same results from these new centres that we’ve had from our other centres in the program,” she said.
“The fact we’ve seen the program deliver consistently strong results for four years now, gives us some confidence that it’s a program that works and will continue to deliver strong results.”
Bob Mulcahy, the director of Resilient Families at Uniting, said he was extremely pleased with the performance of the program.
“We’re proud of Uniting Newpin. It’s a program that aims to reunite families and address the challenges they may face in the future,” Mulcahy said.
“The commitment and dedication of our Newpin families is inspiring. Working together with our team, the hard work that is put in by the parents to see their children restored is reflected in this year’s results.
“Over a period of around 18 months, parents and their children attend a centre between two and four times a week for therapy and training to help inspire good parenting, encourage the value of positive parent-child relationships and raise the self-esteem of individual parents who are struggling.
“These are fabulous results which will reap long-term rewards for them personally, as well as for their communities, and I congratulate them wholeheartedly.”
Given the success of Newpin, Sainty believes the future is bright for SBBs, as an innovative approach to social service program funding.
“I think the Newpin bond shows this contract can deliver benefits for all parties. We’ve seen a number of different states pilot the concept. This year we’ve seen South Australia launch their first bond, the Aspire social impact bond, and Queensland have also recently launched their own first [SBBs],” she said.
“We’re seeing the success of Newpin has piqued everyone’s interests, whether that be governments, service providers or investors. It helps stimulate interest in this form of outcomes contracting.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing the program develop over the next few years, while continuing to assist hundreds more children and their families.”