It’s time we started using it properly.

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Photo by Soviet Artefacts on Unsplash

By Tarö Kili, Manager at Social Finance

This article was originally published on Apolitical.

We’ve all been asked to tick a box defining our ethnicity at some point or another, whether when registering with a GP, enrolling a child in school, or signing up to a local service.

If you’re mixed-race like me, this can precipitate a mild existential crisis in the dentist’s waiting room. Which box should I tick? How many hyphens are appropriate? Is it even any of the dentist’s business? These are questions for another day. What I’d like to ask here is where does this data actually go? …


Medical science works wonders to help people survive traumatic injuries, but there is a critical gap in supporting victims once they’ve left hospital.

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By Gary Johnson, Health and Employment Partnerships Director of Operations at Social Finance

“It felt like falling off a cliff when I was discharged home. I had no support; I didn’t know how I would ever pull it all together.”

Imagine surviving a life changing injury after a traumatic accident. You’ve gained world class medical treatment from an NHS Trauma Centre, had your body repaired with operations, metal braces and splints, and survived through it all. Then you’re discharged home with little or no follow-up to help you reintegrate into the community and return to work.

This is the experience of all too many trauma patients. …


To mark the two year anniversary of our programme, we reflect on the main learnings, achievements and aspirations for the future.

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Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

The End of Life Care Integrator (EOLCI) was established by Social Finance in 2015 to enable health and social care systems to make change happen so that people are able to live and die well in the last phase of life.

In 2018 the team supported the development and mobilisation of a transformation programme around end of life care in Waltham Forest.

At the time, Waltham Forest had one of the lowest rates in the country of people being supported to die in their usual place of residence. While 86% of patients in Waltham Forest reported wanting to die at home, only 33% of them were supported to do so. …


Deep rooted problems demand deep rooted solutions.

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Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

By Dan Jones, Associate at Social Finance.

This article was originally published on Apolitical.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the challenges we face, but they are not new.

Many have deep and complex roots, and have resisted repeated attempts to address them. Public servants around the world are increasingly interested in systems change — reorienting our whole approach to this kind of intractable problem, across the public and voluntary sectors, in order to tackle it at the roots.

More than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously harmed by a current or family partner or another family member. With no change in this number over the last 15 years, it is clear that the existing approach to domestic abuse is not working. …


Social Finance’s Impact Incubator team are looking at the issue of violence impacting young people, to try and understand the root causes of the problem and where there are opportunities to drive systemic change.

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Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

When we started this research we worked with Alika, a consultant with lived experience of both the pressures that young people face, and of working to affect change in this area. He worked within our project team to conduct research and interpret our findings. His contributions have been key in shaping some of our thinking. At the end of his consultancy, we asked him for feedback on his experience of working with us and his broader thoughts on co-production. This interview focused on the experience of co-production with Social Finance rather than the issue of violence itself.

We are really grateful to Alika for his feedback and huge contribution to the project. The feedback provided will help us achieve our ambition to meaningfully share power with children, young people, and those with lived experience as we proceed with this research and take action. …


In the first of a series, Social Finance co-founder Toby Eccles reflects on the importance of diversity in fulfilling our mission and improving our impact.

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Photo by James McDonald on Unsplash.

At Social Finance we want to make social change happen. We have understood since our foundation that this means we need a diversity of thought within the organisation. Initially we understood this to mean that we would bring rigorous financial and analytical thinking to social problems, as this was often lacking in the sector and was sometimes a barrier to getting engagement from government or other longer term funding streams. Our aim was that by adding financial skills, with a mission focus on improving the lives of disadvantaged people, we could make a difference.

As we grew in experience and understanding, we have added other skills and knowledge to help navigate social change through the various gates and barriers that it needs to pass through to enable scaled and lasting change. We have understood the importance of quantitative and qualitative data, understanding the constraints and frustrations of the public sector, and the need of real insight from people with lived experience. We’ve added consultants, civil servants, data scientists, user researchers and operational managers to the mix. They’ve broadened our understanding and scope to generate change. …


Tom Dowler of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council explains how data science helped provide better services and positively impact the lives of local residents.

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Southend-on-Sea pier. Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

At Social Finance we are passionate about the potential for data to improve public services. We are delighted to share the experience and insights of Tom Dowler, Manager of the Operational Performance and Intelligence team at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, who have pioneered the use of data science in a council setting.

Interview conducted by Celine Gross, Associate at Social Finance.

Celine Gross: You left the private sector to join Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. Why did you make this decision?

Tom Dowler: I started my career as an analyst in investment banking. After almost 10 years working with some amazing people in the City of London, it didn’t feel right anymore: I had less of an interest in making money, and I wanted to pursue a career with a social impact. …


With limited support, those living with a long-term health condition can face lengthy periods of absence from the workplace. Here’s how we can change this.

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

By Lizan Kawa, Associate at Social Finance, and Elizabeth Caldwell, Associate Director at Social Finance

We have all woken up feeling unwell and realised we will not be able to go to work. Depending on your company policy, you may even find yourself in the GP surgery asking for a fit note from your doctor. Usually it’s a five minute conversation that ends with a certificate to comply with HR processes.

For some individuals and their employers, these short-term absences and minor ailments are manageable and a return to work is quick. For others the story can be very different.

Every year an estimated 141.4 million working days are lost due to sickness or injury in the UK. The most common reasons for long-term absence are musculoskeletal or mental health conditions. With limited or no access to appropriate support to return to the workplace, many of those living with a long-term health condition can face long periods of absence, or even falling out of work altogether. …


Eight reasons why data science apprenticeships can help local authorities to improve children’s lives

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Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

By Celine Gross, Associate at Social Finance

I’ve been working for a while with children’s services teams in local authorities, using data insights to improve service delivery and outcomes. I love getting stuck into the data, but I am only one person with a limited impact.

If we’re going to transform how the sector uses data to improve children’s lives, we need a different approach. The sector could learn how to do this type of work themselves.

We are collaborating with a group of local authorities to design a data science apprenticeship tailored to children’s services. …


A summary of the first in our new series of webinars on skills training and employment

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By Louise Savell, Director at Social Finance

Lee este artículo en español

Last week we hosted the first in our new series of webinars on employment and skilling. The discussion, chaired by Dr. Mara Airoldi (Government Outcomes Lab) and featuring panellists Maria Laura Tinelli (Acrux Partners), Abha Thorat-Shah (British Asian Trust) and Peter Nicholas (Social Finance) drew on experiences of designing and running outcomes-based contracts for employment and skilling in South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Panellists explored the rationale for outcomes-based approaches to employment and skilling, reflected on the ways that such contracts have responded to the contextual challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and discussed whether and how such approaches could support post-Covid recovery. …

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Social Finance UK

We combine social and financial insight to help our partners make a difference to enduring problems — where outcomes are poor and costs of failure high.

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