Call for more support for social investment infrastructure

Call for more support for social investment infrastructure
Civil Society, by Kirsty Weakley

There are number of “tensions” in the social investment market that are causing confusion; and more investment is needed to build the necessary infrastructure to grow the market, according to a new report.

Angels in the Architecture was commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital and written by Dan Gregory, head of policy at Social Enterprise UK. It explores the evolution of the social investment market, its current landscape and makes a number of recommendations.

The report highlights that: “Tensions in terms of politics, perspective, culture, language and ideology are already causing some confusion and frustration in a market which is not straightforward to define.”

It also says: “Tangible demand for social investment is slower than many would have foreseen.” And: “Social sector organisations often feel, rightly or wrongly, that they are being rather pushed into something which they haven’t fully understood or themselves taken a conscious decision to pursue.”

Its key recommendations are:

* Government, Big Society Capital (BSC), and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) need to make sure that social investment rhetoric reflects its stage of development

* BIG and BSC should consider how they might offer financial support to build market infrastructure

* Potential financiers of social investment market infrastructure should make sure that the conditions of this support promote the development of good governance, support different types of organisations and encourage collaboration

* BIG, BSC and the Cabinet Office should consider financial support for further product development, measures to improve data capture, testing of brokerage and advisory services, mechanisms for cost-sharing and a representative trade body

* Emerging infrastructure bodies need to consider their own governance and make sure that they are clear about what they do and who they serve