Outcomes for all - report

This report has been written by Big Society Capital to share data and insights on the Social Outcomes Contracts (SOC) market in the UK over the last ten years.

Download the full report.


Written by

Aman Johal, Managing Director
Gabriel Ng, Investment Director

It draws on data from three main sources: Big Society Capital’s own archives, information provided by key participants in the market and an independent analysis done by ATQ Consultants commissioned by Big Society Capital. To our knowledge, ATQ’s analysis is the most comprehensive review of value of the UK SOC market published to date. This report aims to support meaningful discussions around the potential and future of SOCs as an approach to enable effective delivery of public services for people.

While national and local government can be effective in delivering large-scale generalist public services, for difficult areas such as homelessness and children’s services, which require a multi-agency approach, traditional public service siloes struggle with tailoring long-term support to individuals' needs. The result is often that the individual’s problems persist and worsen, leaving public services to firefight crises rather than prevent them.

Outcomes-led commissioning is a proven way of shifting the focus to prevention and away from crisis response, and helps reduce the pressure on public services. National and local Governments retain full accountability while services are delivered by local social sector organisations, who are given the flexibility to innovate and tailor services to individuals' needs.

Local delivery organisations receive upfront money from socially-motivated investors to deliver the service, who are only repaid if agreed outcomes are actually achieved. Importantly the financial risk sits with the investors, rather than the Government. The investors receive a small return, but only if better outcomes and better value for money are achieved. Social outcomes contracts have been used to tackle a wide range of complex social issues throughout the UK:

  • Homelessness
  • End of life care
  • Mental health care
  • Long-term health conditions
  • Children’s services
  • Employment
  • Education

This is the first published study of the market level value achieved by these contracts to-date. The data collected shows for the first time how over the last decade, the SOC market has grown and added significant value to thousands of individuals facing complex social issues. While the approach is not without challenges, the evidence is clear that there is potential for social outcomes contracting to grow and continue to add value to improving public service delivery in the UK.

Download the full report below and the detailed ATQ analysis here.

Outcomes for all

Ten years of Social Outcomes Contracts