Victoria’s first social impact bonds to tackle youth transition, drugs

Victoria’s first social impact bonds will focus on drug and alcohol treatment programs and young people transitioning from out-of-home care to independence.

Although it hasn’t signed off on anything yet, the state government is in talks with social service providers, potential partners and investors to determine how best to go about setting up SIBs to tackle these issues.

The announcement that Victoria has released its first social impact bond Statement of Opportunities comes soon after the Community and Public Sector Union Victoria told The Mandarin it had lobbied the Victorian Treasurer against trialing the model that critics are calling part of a back-door privatisation.

Social impact bonds are a form of outcomes-based contracting for social services seen by many as a promising way of incentivising a more rigorous focus on outcomes in some of our most intractible social problems. The key feature is a commitment by government to paying a third-party provider a fee if it is able to meet social outcome targets at the end of a multi-year period. There have been 60 social impact bonds launched worldwide since the first in 2010, with around half in the United Kingdom, 10 in the United States and two in New South Wales.

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