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  • Author or Editor: Cam Donaldson x
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An ageing population has placed strains on health and social care systems. Innovative solutions have been sought to inject capacity and capability in order to deliver services to older people more efficiently and effectively. Over the last two decades, governments have actively encouraged third sector organisations to deliver public services on the assumption that they exhibit higher levels of innovation, efficiency and responsiveness. The evidence base, particularly for whether they provide better value for money, remains poor. We present the results of a systematic literature review on the costs and outcomes of services for older people delivered by third sector organisations. We combine this evidence with a framework for analysing the benefits and costs of third sector-led initiatives, and test this out empirically with a group of initiatives delivered for older people in an urban context. We find that our method may hold considerable promise for the evaluation of third sector initiatives.

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Chapter Seven focuses on efficiency of administration and the mixing of morals and mathematics in the context of the financialisation of everyday life. They examine the development and scope of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), a policy instrument designed to extend the role of private finance in welfare provision and delivery, following in the wake of previous efforts to outsource public services and expand the mechanisms for ‘payments by results’. As the authors demonstrate in the UK SIBs represent more than just an expansion of existing privatisation measures; they are part of the financialisation of service provision and delivery, bringing venture capital and the risk calculations and hedging of welfare outcomes to the financial market in an effort to shake up the assumed public sector inertia. As the authors discuss, the assumptions of risk, cost-saving attributes and the measurability of outcomes are all problematic in the financialised framework.

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This article provides a rounded critique of social impact bonds (SIBs): a newly developed and innovative financial investment model, developed in the UK and starting to spread internationally that could transform the provision of social services. Although SIBs have the potential to influence delivery by all providers, this article raises three concerns about their possible effects – in relation to their potential outcomes, unintended consequences for the UK third sector, and governance – and then reflects on SIBs as the latest manifestation of the ideological shift which the UK third sector is undergoing.

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