The perils of social investment in the youth sector


Speaking of the Centre for Youth Impact as we did in our last post, the centre is organising with Learning South West a seminar, ‘The potential of social investment in the youth sector’ on Thursday 25 February 2016 from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm at Bishops Hull House, Bishops Hull, Taunton.

The publicity goes as follows:

The seminar is aimed at youth sector organisations and professionals who might be
considering social investment as a way of developing their offer to young people. It draws
on the experience of a panel of speakers with knowledge and experience of what social
investment can offer, and the challenges it presents for providers and commissioners.
Speakers include:
 Alex Meagher: Centre for Social Impact Bonds, Cabinet Office
 David Floyd: Social Spider CIC, researcher and writer on social enterprise and
social investment
 Kevin Munday: Managing Director, thinkforward, currently operating a social
impact bond
 Miriam Furze: Project Oracle
The seminar will include an introduction to possible uses of social investment and inputs
from those with experience of using it to support work with young people. We will discuss
ways to use social investment in the youth sector in the South West and beyond as well as
considering the risks and challenges for organisations contemplating social investment

To reserve a place please email your completed booking form to Jane Shipton by Monday
15 February.

Our slight alteration to the title of the seminar replacing ‘potential’ with ‘perils’ is not facetious. Whilst the blurb talks of risks it’s not clear who will lead the exploration of what is meant by risks. As far as we can see no one on the panel is well-known for a trenchant critique of what is a highly contested way of financing social projects, often referred to as a ‘Pay for Success’ bond. In the meantime we hope IDYW supporters in the South-West will get to the gathering. We would love to hear  your assessment of what’s going on. If we can get our act together we might knock together some thoughts on the  birth and history of social investment thus far. As one critic observes, “of course the underlying driver for Social Impact Bonds derives from neoliberal ideology – to marketise, commercialise, privatise and corporatise the world.”

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