Press release

£80 million boost for Life Chances Fund to transform lives

The Cabinet Office has launched an £80 million ‘Life Chances Fund’ to support Social Impact Bonds (SIB) to help transform people's lives.


The Life Chances Fund, launched today (4 July 2016) by Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson, will tackle entrenched social issues, improving people’s life chances by looking at local solutions for local problems to bring better life chances to individuals. The fund will also support a new academic centre to understand and measure new approaches for the public sector to commission services.

The fund is structured around 6 key themes:

  • drug and alcohol dependency
  • children’s services
  • early years
  • young people
  • older people’s services
  • healthy lives

Applications for proposals focused on children’s services and tackling drug and alcohol dependency are now open, to be followed by the other themes over the next 12 months.

The Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University has also launched the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab), a partnership with the Cabinet Office, to establish an independent centre of academic excellence for the commissioning of public services.

The GO Lab will deepen understanding of outcomes-based commissioning, including social impact bonds, by researching new ways for the public sector to commission services.

It will provide independent support, data and evidence on what works, and what doesn’t, making it equally beneficial for local authorities, social investors and charities. This will help to improve the delivery of public services through a more outcomes-focused and evidence-based approach.

The announcement was made at a launch event held at the Blavatnik School of Government and attended by senior officials from local government as well as social investors, advisories and other sector partners.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

I believe that the Social Impact Bond market could be worth £1 billion by the end of the Parliament.

This will require continued momentum, and today’s GO Lab and Life Chances Fund announcements will provide the support local commissioners need to use SIBs to transform lives.

This is about central and local government, academia and the voluntary sector all coming together to work at tackling some of the most entrenched social challenges we face.

Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said:

Children in care, people dependent on drugs or alcohol, and anyone whose prospects appear bleak could stand a better chance in life if the services they need and use were more effective. Through research and support, the GO Lab will make it easier for governments to commission smarter services that focus on outcomes, working with the private and not-for-profit sectors to solve the social issues.

Notes to editors

Expressions of interest for funding from the Life Chances Fund for children’s services and drug and alcohol dependency projects are due by 30 September 2016. The other themes will be open to applications over the course of 2017.

Published 4 July 2016