10 June 2011

Making A Difference

As the largest non-government provider of out-of-home care services in Australia, Life Without Barriers has benefited enormously from our association with the Master of Management program.

We approached the University of Sydney’s Business School last year for help with a vital project that involved examining the application of social impact bonds on the type of services we provide. In a nutshell, we needed the students to help provide an economic analysis of the various elements of the out-of-home care system and how it might be possible to apply a social impact bond. This basically relates to getting investors involved so that essential services (such as therapeutic assistance for families who may be struggling to stay together) can be delivered before families reach a crisis.

It was a very complex piece of work done over many weeks in partnership with Deloitte, and the four students involved worked incredibly hard. Prior to the project, I guess I expected that maybe 30% of the work could be done by the students. But they far exceeded my expectations. Despite no previous background in our area, they quickly got across the subject material and applied their unique skills to develop a product that’s going to be enormously helpful.

Ultimately, the work was presented to NSW Treasury in its final draft stage, with the students themselves briefing senior treasury officials. Treasury asked hard questions and the students were able to clearly and confidently answer them. Treasury was very impressed with the results, which will now form the basis of our bid to establish a social impact bond in NSW.

Upon conclusion of the project, we offered a position to one of the students on a temporary basis until she takes up a permanent role at Deloitte early next year. It’s been a delight having her on the team and we’re really looking forward to getting more Master of Management students involved with Life Without Barriers in the future.

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