AccessEd #12 – Supporting the supporters

Back in December we announced the ‘headlines’ for our capacity building programme. With the process of getting our Reach Fund and Impact Management programmes up and running underway, and the working group for making good progress, we’re now developing our plans for “Infrastructure Investments”.

To restate the context: social investment intermediary organisations (social lenders, advisors, trading platforms and other organisations which support the market) are critical to the long term development of social investment. Many have their own investment needs and there has been a lack of supply of this sort of support. Addressing this gap has been part of Access’s strategy since our inception. Our aim is to develop a shared understanding of the needs of the different types of finance and support intermediary organisations in the market, how the market could and should develop, and what infrastructure is required to encourage such development.

It is clear that this is a priority shared by our key partners. In March, Cabinet Office published their strategy for developing social investment in the UK: this cites support for market infrastructure as key to the sustainability and growth of the market. Colleagues at Big Society Capital, meanwhile, have recently begun an exercise to gather more evidence about the development needs and investment opportunities for their direct intermediaries.

For our part, over the next month we will be speaking with a selection of intermediary organisations across the social investment market, including who may play a role in the delivery of our programmes. If your organisation would like to share your thoughts at this stage, please get in touch. ­Towards the end of May, I’ll share another blog post to share how our thinking is developing, and setting out what we’ll be doing over the course of June.

In this way we’re moving towards making some choices about our priorities for investment, and at the same time getting a better sense for the type of investment which would be most suitable for intermediaries. By July, we’re looking to have developed our plans on both fronts, to the point where we can begin to work with partners to structure a solution to meet this need over the second half of 2016.