Social impact bonds: a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

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  • McHugh, N (2013) Social impact bonds: a wolf in sheep's clothing?

    Rights statement: Copyright © 2013 Policy Press. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at:

    Final published version, 514 KB, PDF-document


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Poverty and Social Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2013


This article provides a rounded critique of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs): a newly developed and innovative financial investment model, developed in the UK and starting to spread internationally that could transform the provision of social services. Although SIBs have the potential to influence delivery by all providers, this article raises three concerns about their possible effects - in relation to their potential outcomes, unintended consequences for the UK third sector, and governance - and then reflects upon SIBs as the latest manifestation of the ideological shift which the UK third sector is undergoing.


  • social investment, social impact bonds, third sector

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