22 September 2011

Help Where It’s Needed Most

Back in June I blogged about the hugely important social impact bond project that four Master of Management students helped deliver for Life Without Barriers.

The big news is that following the proposal, the new NSW State Government has just committed to undertaking a trial social impact bond scheme in their first budget. This is a very exciting development for two reasons. The first is that it represents a new way of directly linking welfare funding to outcomes and ascertaining the value of particular programs or initiatives in terms of delivering benefits for highly vulnerable people. For instance, does the intervention (in the case of out of home care) help families care for their children safely? Does it help children find safe, stable homes that ensure they have a better life? The second reason is that it’s a new way of getting additional funding into welfare services. Given the overwhelming demand in the community, and the fact that the out of home care budget in NSW is completely over-committed, that’s a very positive thing.

The assistance of the participating Master of Management students (in partnership with Deloitte) can’t be overstated. Together they compiled a very detailed economic analysis of applying social impact bonds and how to apply that methodology to out of home care in NSW. It was the students themselves who ultimately briefed senior Treasury officials, who were clearly very impressed. Indeed, it’s interesting that the Government’s recent budget announcement mentioned foster care as one of the areas they want to trial. We congratulate the Government on this bold and exciting initiative, and we’re tremendously grateful to the University of Sydney and the Master of Management students for their outstanding work.

In terms of further collaborations with the Master of Management program, we’re very excited about the possibilities, and are hoping to begin working with our next round of students very soon. I should also mention that Gina-Sue Bolon - one of the students who worked on our social impact bonds project - is now working for Life Without Barriers on the development of public policy.

Author: Kylie Gwynne - National Director of Partnerships and Strategy - Life Without Barriers

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