Social Investment Business

Social Investment Business

Project: Social Investment Data Hub and Exchange

Grant: £30,000

Social Investment Business (SIB) has taken on the open data standard project and will function as the institutional home to continue to develop and promote a collaborative approach to data capture, analysis and management across the social investment market. The project aims to further develop the Social Investment Data Hub and Exchange as a collaborative venture for the social investment sector.

SIB has championed the use of the social investment data specification developed by Open Data Services (ODS) in partnership with Key Fund, the Community Shares Unit, as supported by a previous Connect Fund grant to ODS. The data specification is an open one, and SIB will work to encourage other social investors to align with the standard and create a data set for social investment that allows comparison across funds, to better promote learning and impact management. The objective is ultimately to achieve a 360Giving for social investment that will improve transparency and market information.

SIB is already working with a core group of social investors that includes the Community Shares Unit, Key Fund, Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC), Big Issue Invest (BII), Sumerian Partners and Nesta. SIB intend to use the Connect Fund grant to expand this group further and seed a strong collaborative governance committee to oversee collective data management in the future.

The project works on the basis that the more social investment intermediaries use the data standard, the better it will be. The grant will also allow SIB to explore the final form that the hub and exchange will take. SIB will work to secure a collective commitment to data use and the development of reliable intelligence that can inform all social investors and improve deployment of finance to serve the social economy. SIB will explore a joint approach to secure ongoing commitment to comparative data use by with social investment intermediaries, ultimately in order to adopt best practice data governance for collective data stores.

The project will have succeeded if SIB develops a strong group of social investment intermediaries committed to best practice data collection, use and governance, with an agreed formal process for coordinating, managing and publishing data on impact. SIB expects to develop a plan for incorporation of an appropriate independent entity to take on the governance role formally in 2020.

SIB will encourage the sector to adopt a pragmatic data standard, linked to a simple and usable impact survey, that will jointly produce reliable and comparative data on social investment to a level of detail that has not previously been achieved. SIB also intends to develop an approach to the joint management of that data that establishes ground-breaking data governance for the sector, safeguarding the rights of data subjects, and generating an active culture of shared data use and learning.