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ProjectSocial Benefit Bonds Pilot Program, QLD

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Recognising the need for a different approach to tackling challenging social issues facing Queensland communities, three pilot Social Benefit Bonds (SSBs) were created by QLD Treasury in 2017. These three were:

  1. Queensland SBB: aims to safely reunify children in out-of-home care with their families, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  2. YouthChoices SBB: aims to reduce the frequency and severity of offending behaviour of young people who are at risk of detention or remand.
  3. Youth CONNECT SBB: aims to develop the resilience of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

TSA Advisory were appointed to provide specialist program management and governance advice to the program in the establishment phase. We were later reappointed to assist Queensland Treasury to identify a procurement strategy for the commissioning of the three SBBs.

Working within a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency team, TSA responsibilities included the management of the procurement process on behalf of Queensland Treasury. TSA reviewed and assessed each proponent responses for each of the three SBBs and oversaw the completion of the procurement process. All three SBBs are being delivered by private sector providers, with tangible benefits provided to the community and a return on investment for the provider.

The three pilot SBBs are supported by upfront capital from private investors. The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, and the Department of Housing and Public Works are the agencies responsible for contract management.

Social Benefit Bonds (SBBs) are outcomes driven, providing a financing structure where government only pays for improved social outcomes when demonstrated, as opposed to when services are delivered. Additional funds will be attracted from private investors to finance new social services and generate positive outcomes. When contracted outcomes are demonstrated, the invested funds plus a return are paid to investors. If agreed outcomes are achieved, associated service-delivery costs to government will be avoided over the long term and the resulting savings are available to fund the payments to investors.

The benefits of SBBs to the community are:

  • Greater focus on the delivery of outcomes for clients.
  • Flexibility and innovation in service delivery.
  • More investment in early intervention, potentially reducing future demand for acute services.
  • Improved evidence base and availability of robust data for policy makers.