2023 Year in Review


In the NSW Office of Social Impact Investment (OSII), we look back on a busy and productive year and reflect on what we have achieved alongside our partners.

SII investments & initiatives launched in 2023.

In 2023, we commenced delivery of five new outcome-based investments, launched a capability building program for social enterprises, released a new Social Impact Investment (SII) tender opportunity and advanced the relationship with the Commonwealth in delivering joint SIIs.

  • OSII partnered with five job-focused social enterprises to advance the economic wellbeing of women who face increased barriers to economic security, independence and workforce participation. Through Payment-By-Results contracts, the social enterprises are expected to support around 650 women in NSW to achieve sustained employment or start their own business. OSII aims to better understand the role and impact of job-focused social enterprises in delivering outcomes for the people of NSW. For more information on the social enterprises that were successful in receiving this funding, visit our OSII website.
  • OSII released the first stage of a tender opportunity seeking to advance the education outcomes for First Nations girls. The tender focuses on empowering Aboriginal organisations to design programs with the greatest impact for their community, recognising the right to self-determination and trial an outcome-based approach to invest in the growth of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) sector. We tailored the tender approach to be culturally responsive by allowing applicants to present their programs in a video format and created a two staged process with the aim of reducing the workload for applicants who do not progress to Stage 2.
  • OSII supported the Department of Education to continue an outcomes-focused approach to address youth unemployment in NSW by supporting the re-contracting of BackTrack, one of the service providers under the Youth Employment Social Impact Program (YESIP). Funding across multiple smaller scale programs enabled us to compare their outcomes and effectiveness. BackTrack provides youth experiencing disadvantage in regional communities with the support, life skills and experience to pursue positive life pathways.
  • OSII supported the Department of Communities and Justice to sign a bilateral funding agreement with the Commonwealth for Opportunity Pathways (OP-SII). The partnership presents an opportunity to trial data sharing between the NSW and Commonwealth Governments. OP-SII supports people receiving social housing assistance to access education, training and work.

Partnerships & capability building in 2023.

OSII continued engagement with the impact investing community. Highlights include:

  • March 2023

Katherine Palmer, Executive Director of Strategic Balance Sheet Management and OSII, participated in a keynote session ‘The State of Impact Investing’ at the seventh annual Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific. Katherine discussed the growth of the impact investing market and the need for continued capability building in the sector. She highlighted the opportunity for government and its partners to take a system-wide approach to impact investing, with the need for deliberate, collaborative and strategic partnerships.

OSII and NSW Treasury’s Social Policy Network hosted a forum to showcase the successes, challenges and learnings from Foyer Central Social Impact Bond. Foyer Central provides young people with lived experience of out-of-home care with a safe and affordable home while they develop skills to lead independent and fulfilling lives. On the panel, moderated by OSII, were a Foyer Central student and representatives from Uniting, SGCH, Social Ventures Australia and NSW Department of Communities and Justice.

  • September 2023

OSII supported Executive Director of Partnerships, Sophie Holloway from NSW Department of Communities and Justice to present at the University of Oxford Government Outcomes Lab’s annual Social Outcomes Conference on the Foyer Central social impact investment. Sophie shared the journey of the partners involved in the Foyer Central investment and the critical role of collaborative relationships, as well as learnings on designing outcome metrics and data sharing to reflect the holistic, longer term sustained outcomes across multiple domains which Foyer Central aims to achieve.

OSII commissioned two social impact intermediaries – Social Enterprise Finance Australia (Sefa) and Social Impact Hub – to provide tailored capability building support to help women-focused social enterprises develop, grow and maximise their social impact for women facing disadvantage in NSW. The $1.3 million Social Enterprise Capability Building Program commenced in September 2023 and will be delivered over 2 years.

Katherine Palmer and Aleksandra Simic, Director of OSII, participated at a KangaNews-Westpac Institutional Bank roundtable, which took place in Sydney in September. The roundtable participants discussed addressing societal challenges through finance, moves to improve the measurability of social impact, and the linkages between the pillars of environmental, social and governance (ESG).

  • October 2023

Capability building workshops on outcome-based contracting were held by Social Ventures Australia to support service providers determine if outcome-based contracting is suitable for them. Topics included:

  • Introduction to outcome-based contracting (contracts where a portion of funding is linked to the achievement of agreed outcomes)
  • Beneficiary groups
  • Program design
  • Outcome metrics
  • Attributing outcomes and setting targets
  • Funding options
  • Challenges and benefits of an outcome-based approach
  • Capabilities service providers need to manage an outcome-based contract
  • Links to other resources.

The resources are published on OSII’s website under the heading ‘Workshops on outcomes based contracting – October 2023.’

Read our recently published program evaluation and the NSW Sustainability Bond Programme Annual Report 2023.

  • The Sticking Together Project (STP) SII concluded this year. STP supported young people with barriers to employment to find and maintain employment through a personalized 60-week coaching model. This year marked the release of the STP final evaluation report which contains learnings and insights.
  • The NSW Sustainability Bond Programme (SBP) grew to meet investor demand with $1.5 billion in eligible assets added to the asset pool, including a new social asset through partnership with the Aboriginal Housing Office. OSII leads SBP’s asset identification and impact reporting. This year’s Annual Report is available on TCorp’s website.

A word of thanks.

As we reflect on the year that has past, the OSII team are thankful for the partnerships with many stakeholders that have supported us to deliver more and better outcomes and services for the people across NSW. We are excited to continue to work together and for the opportunities that 2024 will bring to grow our impact.

With thanks and wishes for a happy and healthy new year,

The OSII team

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