Press release

UK world-leader in social investment – one year on progress report

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK is now the world-leader in social investment, according to a new report looking at progress towards supporting disadvantaged people.

The UK is now the world-leader in social investment, according to a new report out today which looks at progress towards supporting the most disadvantaged families and individuals.

Social Justice: transforming lives – One year on sets out progress made against over one hundred different commitments across government – since launching the social justice strategy last March.

The report shows the UK is pioneering social impact bonds – where private investors provide the capital to tackle social problems – and now has more bonds than any other country in the world.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

A year ago, we set out a far-reaching vision for social justice, encompassing welfare reform alongside a raft of other changes to tackle problems of disadvantage at the source.

Our strategy marked an historic break from a social policy that, despite many good intentions, did little to transform people’s lives.

This approach starts with the family, the foundation of our society. Prioritising children’s formative years, we are taking action to prevent social problems from arising in the first place, supporting the strong relationships which we know offer children the best start in life.

By bringing the resources and the rigour of the private and social enterprise sector to bear on tackling entrenched disadvantage, we can continue to make headway even in a financial climate that means Government spending is tight.

The Social Justice strategy launched in March 2012, set out the Government’s vision for addressing the causes of multiple-disadvantage through early intervention and focusing support on recovery and independence.

And in October 2012 it set out seven key indicators to identify where progress is being made on a practical level. The key indicators include family stability, worklessness, drug and alcohol addiction and promoting social investment.

Early progress within the first year includes:

  • Social investment: The UK is now the world-leader in this field, with 13 social impact bonds and the establishment of the £600m Big Society Capital – the world’s first social investment institution of its kind.

  • Family stability: Our free advice services have been used by over 12 million parents in England alone, alongside over 48,000 couple counselling sessions, and help for 10,000 families with disabled children to maintain stronger relationships. Ahead of expectations, local authorities have already turned around the lives of 1,675 troubled families.

  • Worklessness: The Work Programme is now providing specialised support to 837,000 people, with providers paid for lasting job outcomes. The Universal Jobmatch is revolutionising the way over 2million people find and progress in work and inactivity has fallen to its lowest level for two decades. There are 400,000 fewer people out of work than a year ago.

  • Drug and alcohol addiction: The Government has launched pioneering pilot programmes that are helping drug and alcohol addicts to turn their lives around. Two further pilots are launched this month where providers are paid more money when they find lasting work for people engaged in treatment for drug and drink problems - an extra £2,500 for each participant who stays in work for six months.

Social Justice: transforming lives – One year on is published on GOV.UK

These indicators are not a set of targets. Rather, they have been designed to help the Government shape future policy by highlighting priorities and identifying where good progress is being made and where more work needs to be done.

The seven indicators are:

Social Justice themes Indicator Key findings
Supporting families 1a. The percentage of all children who are not living with both of their birth parents, by age of the child.

1b. The percentage of children in low income households not living with both birth parents compared to the percentage of children in middle to higher income households.
1a. By the age of 16, nearly half (47 per cent) of all children do not live with both birth parents.

1b. Children growing up in low income households are twice as likely not to be living with both birth parents as children in middle to high income households.
Keeping young people on track 2. The extent to which children from disadvantaged households achieve the same educational outcomes as their more advantaged peers (in development).
Interim indicator: Proportion of children achieving level 4 in both English and maths at the end of Key Stage 2, by free school meal eligibility AND Proportion of children achieving grades A*–C in English and maths at GCSE, by free school meal eligibility (available).

3. The percentage of offenders aged under 18 who go on to reoffend.
2. In 2011- 2012 the gap in attainment at age 11 was 16.8 per cent and 26.2 per cent at age 16.

3. In 2011, 35.8 per cent of offenders aged under 18 years of age committed another offence within 12 months of conviction, caution or release from custody.
The importance of work 4. The proportion of benefit claimants who have received working-age benefits for at least 3 out of the past 4 years (focusing on those capable of work or work-related activity). On 31st March 2012, there were 2.3 million claims for benefits that indicate a capacity for work or work-related activity. 1 million of those were from people who had been claiming one or more of the main working age benefits for at least three out of the preceding four years.
Supporting the most disadvantaged groups 5. Of those who first presented for drug or alcohol treatment during the course of a three year period:
a. The proportion who have exited successfully and not returned by the end of that period (available);
b. The proportion who had achieved sustained employment by the date that period ended (in development);
c. The proportion who had not been convicted with a criminal offence by the date that period ended (in development);
d. The proportion who achieved all three of the above (in development).

6. The proportion of adult offenders: - who do not reoffend within 12 months (available) and - the proportion who are in work 12 months later (in development)
39 per cent of all people who first started drug treatment in 2009-12 successfully completed treatment for their drug of dependency and had not returned by March 31st 2012.

6. 74.6 per cent of adult offenders do not commit a proven reoffence within 12 months.
Delivering social justice 7. The size of the social investment market. A survey on the size of the social investment will be published shortly.

In 2011, an estimated £165 million of social investments were made [Boston Consulting Group, 2012, The First Billion: A Forecast of Social Investment Demand, Big Society Capital.]

Supporting families indicator: A stable family environment will be influenced by a number of complex factors. This can include whether and how often parental relationships change; the quality of the relationships within the family, particularly the absence of intense conflict; and the ability of parents to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children to develop. No single indicator can capture all of these elements and we are constrained in what we can measure by the data available.

The current choice of indicator is not an ideal measure because it does not capture those families where two parents have had parental responsibility for their child since birth, but either one or both is not genetically related to the child. We would prefer to use an indicator which recognises the increasing number of complex genetic relationships that may exist in long term stable families, but none is currently available. Over time we will work with research partners to develop a more sophisticated indicator that does not pose these problems. This should not be interpreted as saying lone parents and step families cannot provide high levels of love and support. All types of family structure have the potential to provide the stability that is vital for enabling good outcomes for children not living with both birth parents, including those living in lone-parent families, step families, adoptive families, foster families or those who are in the care of relatives.

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