Australia’s first SBB program delivers 7.5% return in first year

A pilot social benefit bond program is hitting social and financial targets, a new report argues. The New South Wales government likes what it sees.

Australia’s first social benefit bond will deliver a first-year return of 7.5% to investors after meeting social outcome targets, a report by Deloitte has shown.

The Newpin bond, a $7 million pilot program run by UnitingCare to test the use of SBBs in Australia, aims to restore children to their families from out-of-home care, or prevent them from entering care in the first place, through creating safe family environments. It does this by funding an intensive 12- to 18-month course for parents, with strong outcome targets and performance measures guiding returns to investors in the program.

At the end of June the program had 55 families, including 82 children, in its three centres. During the first year, 28 children were successfully returned to their families, and 10 families at risk were assisted to prevent their children from being put into care.

SBBs are an innovative form of public-private partnership in which private investors provide up-front funding to service providers to deliver improved social outcomes. If these outcomes are delivered, there are cost savings to government that can be used to pay back the up-front funding as well as provide a return on that investment.

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