Australia’s first social benefit bond reports strong results for third year running

Australia’s first social impact bond, the Newpin Social Benefit Bond (Newpin SBB) has reported positive results for the third year in a row, having now helped restore 130 children in care to their families and prevented 47 children from entering the out-of-home care system.

The overall restoration rate for children achieved during the first three years of the program is 61%. The SBB will pay a return to investors of 12.15% pa.

The Newpin SBB is financial partnership between the NSW Government, Uniting, and Social Ventures Australia (SVA) that has funded the expansion of the Newpin program. Newpin works with parents to create safe and nurturing family environments to so that children can be restored from out-of-home care, or prevented from entering care in the first place.

As at 30 June 2016, there were five Newpin Centres in Sydney and on the Central Coast, with further centres planned to open over the life of the Bond.

Ian Learmonth, Executive Director of impact investing at SVA commented:

‘The positive social and financial returns from the Newpin SBB, for a third year in a row, demonstrate the benefits the approach can bring to government, service providers and investors alike. The outcomes focus required by the bond mechanism is also helping build a strong evidence base for the Newpin restoration approach, which is beginning to inform broader child protection reform priorities.’

‘We look forward to working to progress other social impact investments being driven by the NSW government in the areas of mental health and supporting vulnerable young people to transition to independence.’

Bob Mulcahy, Uniting’s Director of Resilient Families said being involved with the social impact bond has helped Uniting build an evidence base on Newpin which confirms, with the right support, innovative approaches can achieve important results for families.

‘Newpin equips parents with an understanding of their children’s emotional, physical and educational needs and of how their own behaviours impact their children. It takes hard work and commitment from parents to overcome their challenges, most often stemming from their own early experiences of trauma and abuse,’ he said.

The Newpin SBB is underpinned by an outcome-based contract between the NSW Government and Uniting, under which some of the government savings that result from the success of the Newpin program are paid to Uniting. Investors have provided capital to Uniting to fund the operation and expansion of the program, and receive a return based on the proportion of children restored to their parents.