Resilient Families Becomes First SBB to Mature in Australia
10 October 2018 at 4:57 pm
The Benevolent Society believes social benefit bonds can transform how social services are delivered in Australia, after its SBB significantly reduced the number of children entering out-of-home care.
Resilient Families – an intensive family support program seeking to keep families together – was delivered by The Benevolent Society under an SBB in partnership with private investors, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and the New South Wales government.
The five-year bond has now finished, making it the first SBB to reach maturity in Australia.
The program performed well, with 32 per cent fewer children entering out-of-home care compared to a control group of families receiving a “business as usual” approach from the NSW government.
Financially, the SBB delivered capital-protected investors a six per cent return and capital-exposed investors a 10.5 per cent return.
Matt Gardiner, The Benevolent Society’s executive director of child and family services, said the number of children entering out-of-home care was three times higher than it was 20 years ago, making the success of the program all the more remarkable.
He told Pro Bono News the program showed how SBBs could be used more widely by governments to deliver social services.
“By investing in innovative solutions we’re going to find much better ways of addressing social issues than by doing things the same old way,” Gardiner said.
“Instruments like SBBs have forced us to measure ourselves differently and more robustly than we ever have before in the history of social services.
“We’ve realised as a sector that being well-intentioned is no longer good enough, and we need to actually be confident that what we’re doing is making a difference.”
Despite the completion of the SBB, the Resilient Families program is set to continue in NSW through another financing model, and The Benevolent Society is exploring opportunities to deliver the program in other states across Australia.
Gardiner said it was important to remember that running a successful pilot program through the SBB was not the end goal.
“It’s just a means of testing and innovating something. The end goal is actually bringing that social issue to end,” he said.