Changing Communities

15 January 2014

“At the Scottish Parliament, YMCA Scotland and the RSA recently showcased a radical new tool for improving the quality of life for real people in real communities” commented Ian Marr, Chief Executive at Aberdeen YMCA.

The Social Impact Investment Partnership (SIIP) has been developed by YMCA and Morton Fraser Solicitors as a new partnership structure. This allows funding to be committed to preventative spend at a time when budgetary pressures are driving spend predominantly towards acute services.

 “The SIIP provides realistic access to working capital” noted Peter Crory of YMCA Scotland, “and it does so by making it possible for people in their own communities to invest money in making a difference at a local level.”

The SIIP involves three partners – Delivery, Outcome and Investment Partners. The Delivery Partner creates a service which makes a difference to a pressing social need e.g. youth unemployment. The Investment Partners provide the working capital to pay for the service. If the goals agreed with the Outcome Partner are met then the Outcome Partner repays the working capital plus interest at a previously agreed rate.

 “By using this structure we can create services which make a real difference” commented Ian Marr “and one of the great things is that we can adapt the way we do things based on what we learn from delivering the service developing even better ways to serve our local communities.”

“Our commitment” explained Lauren Scott of Morton Fraser “has been to prepare an entirely new set of partnership arrangements which allow the various parties to manage their relationship in such a way that they can make a real difference in their communities by working together. It has been an exciting and rewarding process for us at Morton Fraser and we very much hope that it can be the start of something new in Scotland.”

“The SIIP is designed to make it possible for people to invest just a few thousand pounds” continued Ian Marr “so local people can invest in a SIIP in their own community alongside larger investors. By pulling the potential of a variety of investors the SIIP model generates real partnership across the community.”

Paul Buddery of the RSA noted that “Public Services are really relationships, they are not boxed products, they are relationships between people and organisations which are designed to improve the quality of life of everyone in the community. The SIIP structure focuses on making the very best of a series of relationships which can change the community for the better.”

“The RSA are committed to ‘Enriching Society through Ideas and Action’” commented John Naylor, Chair of the RSA in Scotland, “and we are delighted to be have been able to help fund the development of the SIIP Idea which allows people to take Action to enrich the society in which we all share daily.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs represented the Scottish Government at the recent Parliamentary event which was hosted by John Mason MSP, Vice Convenor of the Scottish Government Finance Committee. The evening event was attended by a wide cross section of interested parties who could be Delivery, Investment or Outcome Partners.

 “A lively and focussed discussion on the night has led to a number of people discussing possible uses for the SIIP which is very encouraging” said Ian, “we are convinced that this simple tool can make a major impact on how we improve the quality of life for people in communities across the country.”

The SIIP offers an opportunity for new capital to come in to the provision of services in communities, and for the more effective use of existing capital, at a time of substantial budgetary pressures. To allow this tool to be widely used YMCA have created a set of template legal documents which allow the various partners to engage with each other without having to construct new contracts for every project. These template documents are available from YMCA Scotland.