The Social Impact Bond Toolkit: what you need to make your SIB a success

A stage-by-stage guide of the best resources in the field

So, do you think social impact bonds (SIBs) might be the way forward?

If you believe SIBs could be the solution to your problems, then it’s time to start planning and designing your own.

However, we know that developing a SIB is not an easy process — that’s why we’ve collected some of the best tools and resources to help you every step of the way.

From conceptualisation through to implementation and evaluation, each stage is equipped with a catalogue of sources to guide you.

Whether you’re just starting off or are already further down the line, here’s all you need to make your SIB a success.


  1. Conceptualising – getting to grips with what they are and how they work
  2. Deciding – working out whether a SIB is the right option for you
  3. Designing – planning and developing your SIB
  4. Contracting – preparing the paperwork
  5. Procuring – finding a service provider
  6. Implementing – putting your SIB into practice and evaluating the results


Getting to grips with what they are and how they work

Social Finance UK: A new tool for scaling impact: how social impact bonds can mobilize private capital to advance social good
A report on the potential and challenges of SIBs

OECD: Understanding Social Impact Bonds
A report providing information on some of SIBs main features and challenges

Government Outcomes Lab: Social impact bonds: an overview
An overview of SIBs for senior management in local authorities

Centre for Public Impact: An overview of the global Market for commissioners and policymakers
A discussion on how SIBs work, their benefits and how they compare to other funding models

Iforchange: Impact bonds
A clear and simple explanation of what social impact bonds are

UK Gov: Social impact bonds: an overview
A scenario-based animated explainer video on what social impact bonds are

Social Finance UK: Impact bond global database
An interactive database of social impact bonds around the world

Government Outcomes Lab: Impact bonds in developing countries: early learnings from the field
An overview of international SIBs including guidance on feasibility, outcome selection and contract management

Social Finance UK: SIBs The Early Years
An evaluation of how social impact bonds have developed since their launch six years ago

Government Outcomes Lab: Building the tools for public services to secure better outcomes: Collaboration, Prevention, Innovation
A report on the current state of play of SIBs in the UK

Bridges Fund Management: Better Outcomes, Better Value: the evolution of social impact bonds in the UK
A report on what we can learn from the SIBs launched so far in the UK

Instiglio: Impact Bonds Worldwide
A map and table of SIBs and development impact bonds (DIBs) that are either in design, implementation or have been completed

UNDP: Social and development impact bonds
A simple guide on how they work, SIB feasibility, advantages and disadvantages, case studies, and blogs

OECD: Social Impact Bonds: state of play and lessons learned
An exploration of the current state of SIBs

Social Finance UK: In Short: the future of SIBs
A video where experts discuss their predictions for the future of SIBs based on developments so far

Stanford Social Innovation Review: A Critical Reflection on Social Impact Bonds
An exploration of the issues facing SIBs

Brookings Institution: The Potential and Limitations of Impact Bonds: Lessons from the first five years of experience worldwide
Report analysing existing SIBs so far

Social Finance UK: SIBs The Early Years
A video where experts discuss their views on the recent report, The Early Years, about the developments in the field to date


Working out whether a SIB is the right option for you

Government Outcomes Lab: Why use SIBs
A chart outlining the potential for public service reform of SIBs for different public service challenges

UK Government: Supporting public service transformation: cost benefit analysis guidance for local partnerships
Guidance for local services across the country to assess and evaluate service transformation proposals

Government Outcomes Lab: An introduction to SIBs
An introduction to help you decide whether it is feasible to use a SIB to deliver your policy, service or intervention

Social Finance UK: A Technical Guide to Developing a Social Impact Bond: Vulnerable Children and Young People
An outline of the steps that are required to assess the feasibility of a SIB, with a focus on children’s services

Government Outcomes Lab: SIB Readiness Framework
A guide to the considerations needed at each stage of preparing a SIB

Government Outcomes Lab: The LOUD SIB Model
A report outlining the factors necessary to launch a SIB

Social Finance UK Webinar: Building the SIB value for money case
A webinar exploring the key questions when building a value-for-money case for a SIB


Planning and developing your SIB

Bridges Fund Management: Choosing Social Impact Bonds: A Practitioner’s Guide
A guide on how to set up a successful SIB

TNL Community Fund: Developing Social Impact Bonds: A Commissioner’s Perspective
A case study report with advice on designing a SIB

Government Outcomes Lab: Directory of Social Impact Bond (SIB) Providers
A directory of companies who provide advice to developers of SIBs

New Economy: Unit Cost Database
600 cost estimates across public services in the UK that are useful for SIB development

UK Government: Knowledge Box: Guidance on Developing a SIB
A how-to on designing SIBs, from development through to procurement and evaluation

Government Outcomes Lab: Advice Surgeries
Sessions that commissioners in the UK public service can book to receive guidance on key issues in SIB development

Discover Society: Policy and Politics: how are social impact bonds created and implemented
An article outlining key findings from the research paper, Policy and Politics, which investigates how SIBs are designed

Social Finance UK: Developing a SIB financial model webinar
A webinar explaining how SIBs can be used to transfer risk to an investor when financing services

Social Finance UK: A technical guide to developing SIBs
A guide with information to help you design your SIB


Preparing the paperwork

UK Gov: Social Impact Bond Template Contract
A basis for new SIB contracts

UK Gov: Social Impact Bond Template Contract Guidance
Guidelines to accompany the template contract

Government Outcomes Lab: Short Guide: Contract formation
Guidance on potential contract formation hurdles

Government Outcomes Lab: Awarding the public contract in a social impact bond
An introduction to the public contract in a SIB including public procurement, contract terms, and practical issues in closing the deal


Finding a service provider

Government Outcomes Lab: Procurement Guide
An explanation of procurement options for commissioners

Government Outcome Lab: How to Guide, Procurement
Information on procurement options for governments


Putting your SIB into practice and evaluating the results

National Audit Office: Payment by results: analytical framework for decision-makers
A toolkit based on findings from previous payment by results schemes

Policy Innovation Research Unit: Evaluation of the Social Impact Bond Trailblazers in Health and Social Care, Final Report
A sample evaluation report to guide future SIBs through the process of evaluation

Government Outcomes Lab: Setting and measuring outcomes
A guide to identifying, defining and measuring outcomes for social impact bonds

Government Outcomes Lab: An introduction to evaluation
A guide to evaluating programs implementing outcome based on commissioning approaches

Government Outcomes Lab: An introductory guide to pricing outcomes
A guide for contractors and outcomes payers on pricing outcomes for social impact bonds and outcomes based contracts

French Development Agency: How should we evaluate the financial risk associated with social impact bonds?
A report with proposals on how to manage the issue of financial risk in SIBs

Social Finance UK: Balancing Evidence and Risk
A guide on how to deal with risk when designing a SIB

Urban Institute: An Introduction to Evaluation Designs in Pay for Success Projects
A guide of evaluation design options for developers of SIBs

Urban Institute: From Evidence to Outcomes: Using Evidence to Inform Pay for Success Project Design
A report outlining principles that can be used by policymakers to evaluate evidence

Social Finance UK: Designing effective outcome metrics and measurement systems
A guide on how to measure results during SIB evaluation

Social Finance UK: The value of adaption in SIBs
A video where experts discuss the importance of adapting SIB evaluations

Rand Corporation: The payment by results Social Impact Bond pilot at HMP Peterborough: Final process evaluation report
A report of the first ever payment by results pilot

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Social Impact Bonds: More Than One Approach
A study on how SIBs differ by project and location, and how this effects implementation

Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab: Pay for Success Resources
A collection of case studies of pay for success schemes


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