Research and analysis

Innovation Fund pilots qualitative evaluation: early implementation findings

This report presents early findings on the experiences of the Innovation Fund (IF) during its first year of operation.


Innovation Fund pilots qualitative evaluation: Early implementation findings

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This report presents early findings about the £30 million Youth Unemployment Innovation Fund (IF). The fund backs Social Impact Bonds aimed at helping disadvantaged young people who are, or are at risk of becoming, not in education, employment or training (NEET).

We used the fund to commission 6 pilot projects in April 2012 and further 4 projects in November 2012. Project providers are paid according to their success in helping participants:

  • re-engage with education
  • achieve educational qualifications
  • start and sustain employment and or training

The projects will run for 3 years.

We have also published the first Innovation Fund official statistics which reports the number of starts and outcomes to March 2014.

How we will use these findings

We will use these findings to inform future policy and operational thinking about:

  • rolling out the IF nationally
  • using Social Investment Bonds to help with other social problems
  • the possible funding of specialist, targeted services to help young people get ready for work and move into work

The report is part of a wider programme of evaluation of the IF, which will also include an impact assessment and cost benefit analysis. This evaluation programme will help provide evidence about whether the pilot has achieved its aims to:

  • demonstrate a range of financial and social benefits
  • inform any future decisions about whether to roll out this type of service more widely
  • identify how innovative services might work in supporting disadvantaged young people
Published 11 July 2014