Social Impact Bonds (or pay-for success contracts) are multi-stakeholder partnerships designed to provide innovative social services. After the program’s early pilot in the prisons of Peterborough (UK) in 2010, it generated significant interest in several countries. SIB initiatives are now flourishing around the world, but not in Continental Europe.
However, European governments continue to struggle with the long-lasting impact of the economic crisis and are forced to manage tight budgets, while being confronted with ever-increasing demand for social services.
A group of Harvard students and social investors recognised the potential to positively affect many lives and approached Stibbe for assistance in investigating potential legal hurdles, and giving practical solutions that could leverage the SIB model in continental Europe. After a year of in-depth analysis and preparatory work, our team provided corporate, financial, and public law recommendations which led to the set-up of this innovative financing mechanism for the provision of social services.
This allowed the Brussels employment agency, Actiris, to launch a pilot that deals with workforce empowerment. As a result, Belgium will run the first SIB program of continental Europe.
We remain committed to the implementation of this SIB program and we are currently preparing the second pilot which focuses on adult recidivism