Apply to the Life Chances Fund: 2020 Further Allocation Process

A top-up fund supporting the launch and scaling of innovative, locally-developed, outcomes-based contracts

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For current information on the Life Chances Fund, see Social Impact Bonds and the Life Chances Fund.



Apply to the Life Chances Fund: 2020 Further Allocation Process

The Life Chances Fund (LCF) is now open for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from existing LCF SIB Projects seeking to scale their services by increasing the size of the project cohort and/or by adding new commissioners to projects.

All LCF project leads will receive an email confirming launch of the 2020 process, together with a copy of the Expression of Interest form. Any project leads who have not received this email and are interested in applying to scale, should contact, The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF) as soon as possible.

Completed Expressions of Interest should be submitted by email to The National Lottery Community Fund by 26th June 2020.

Applicants can obtain advice and support on their applications from their current designated Funding Officer / Funding Manager or by emailing The National Lottery Community Fund will also provide feedback for applicants who have not been successful at EOI stage.


Applicants submitting successful EOIs for the further allocation process will continue to have access to a wide range of technical guidance, advice and peer support via the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab). Support resources and opportunities will be signposted to applicants throughout the process.

An event will be held for applicants who are successful at the EOI stage of the process, at the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) in Oxford, date TBC. This will provide an opportunity to connect and share learning and experiences with Life Chances Fund peers, as well as an opportunity for further discussion of development support needs.

The GO Lab will continue to offer support and advice for the evaluation of projects.

2020 LCF further allocation process

The 2020 LCF further allocation process will be focused on the scaling of existing LCF SIB-backed projects.

One of the original objectives of the Life Chances Fund was to increase the number and size of social impact bonds across England. Following three thematic callouts between 2016-2018 and the successful launch of circa 30 LCF projects, existing LCF SIBs are now being offered an opportunity to apply for further funding to scale their services, by increasing the size of the project cohort and/or by adding new commissioners to projects.

Options for scaling include:

  • bringing other commissioners on board with projects, where there is firm commissioner buy-in; or
  • expansion of cohort size, working with existing commissioners

There is a firm expectation that any applications for the scaling of LCF projects will be on the basis of the same cohort definition, outcomes and payment structure as the applicant’s core LCF project.

There is a 2-3 stage process for applicants to the 2020 LCF further allocation process.

Applicants are required to submit their proposals via an expression of interest (EOI) and, if successful, a final written submission. Interviews will then be conducted with those projects where further assurance of commissioner and/or investor backing is required, or where further clarification of aspects of the application is needed.

Expression of interest

The initial stage of the process will ensure that applicants are clear on what it is they are applying for and how realistic a proposal they are making.

It will ensure applicants meet the fundamental criteria for applying to LCF.

A decision will be taken on each EOI form within 3 weeks of the closing date (depending upon the volume of applications).

Final written submission

Proposals approved through the EOI submission will be required to complete a final written submission with more detailed information regarding the proposals for scaling.


A further interview stage will be scheduled for November 2020 (expected to be between 2nd and 13th November 2020), when some applicants may be required to attend interviews to provide further clarification on aspects of their bids. It is anticipated that selected projects may be required to take part in the interview stage of the process, to satisfy the assessment panel that the proposed scaled project has the necessary stakeholder commitments.


From the point of launch of the process, it is expected that it will take a maximum of 6 months for the application process to be completed and a funding decision to be made. Projects will then have a six month mobilisation period.

Deadlines for applications will be as follows:

  • Closing date for Expression of interest - 26 June 2020
  • Review period - 29 June - 17 July 2020
  • Launch of final submission stage - 20 July 2020
  • Closing date for Final Submission - 25 September 2020
  • Final Submission review period - 28 September - 16 October 2020
  • Interviews - 2 November – 13 November 2020
  • Contract Award - 27 November 2020
  • Project Mobilisation - 27 November 2020 - 30 June 2021

All successful projects will be expected to begin delivery of their scaled services by 30th June 2021. Projects can run beyond 2025, but top-up funding will not be available beyond the lifetime of the fund. We would expect all payments to have been claimed 6 months before the closure of the LCF (ie. October 2024) or closure of the individual grant, whichever is the earlier.

Social Impact Bonds

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) represent a significant opportunity to reform public services, improve social outcomes and create savings for the taxpayer. To assist the growth of this market, the government contributed £80 million to a Life Chances Fund, supporting the establishment and scaling of locally developed projects.

Life Chances Fund

The £80 million was committed by central government in 2016 to provide contributions, over a nine-year period, to outcome payments for payment-by-results contracts, which involve socially minded investors - ie towards Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). These contracts must be locally commissioned and aim to tackle complex social problems.

The Life Chances Fund aims for contributions of around 20% of total outcomes payments, with local commissioners paying for the majority of the outcomes payments. However, the level of contribution from the LCF is refined to reflect the balance in savings that are generated for the wider public sector. Where the rate of savings to central government is relatively low and/or the immediate savings to the local commissioner are very high, levels of contribution will be refined to reflect this.

For the 2020 further allocation process, it is anticipated that the percentage top-up agreed for individual LCF projects will remain the same as approved in earlier LCF rounds, in the event that proposals for the scaling of those projects are approved.


The overall objective of the £80 million LCF is to help those people in society who face the most significant barriers to leading happy and productive lives. It has already begun and will continue to do this by:

  • increasing the scale of SIBs in England
  • making it easier and quicker to set up a SIB
  • generating public sector efficiencies by delivering better outcomes and using this to understand how cashable savings are achieved
  • increasing social innovation and building a clear evidence base of what works
  • increasing the amount of capital available to voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector providers to enable them to compete for public sector contracts
  • providing better evidence of the effectiveness of the SIB mechanism and the savings that are being accrued growing the scale of the social investment market

Please send an email to to discuss further questions about your Life Chances Fund application

Updates to this page

Published 4 July 2016
Last updated 26 September 2017 + show all updates
  1. The Life Chances Fund is now closed for Expressions of Interest.

  2. The Life Chances Fund is now open for Expressions of Interest.

  3. New SIB contract template and guidance have been published.

  4. The link to the online application form is now available.

  5. Frequently asked questions document has been updated.

  6. The Life Chances Fund is now open for Expressions of interest (EOIs) for Social Impact Bonds in the themes of early years and young people.

  7. Added application form.

  8. First published.

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