'Making markets' in the welfare system

Toby Eccles OBE, Professor Mildred Warner
Event date
Event time
5:00 - 6:30
Blavatnik School of Government
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Woodstock Road
Event type
Lectures and seminars
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Over the past few decades, a series of reforms have transformed the way public services such as education, health and social care are provided. There has been a significant change in the role private and voluntary organisations have come to play in the delivery of core public services. Proponents of a free market approach to the welfare system argue that government is a necessary, but not sufficient provider of welfare. Critics raise concerns about the financialisaton of public services and whether initiatives such as public-private partnerships improve efficiency and effectiveness in public spending.

The Government Outcomes Lab at the Blavatnik School of Government are hosting a head to head debate with Toby Eccles, Co-founder of Social Finance and Professor Mildred Warner, international expert on restructuring local government services, on how to ‘make markets’ to achieve better social outcomes and the role that different actors across the public, private and charity sectors are best placed to play. The discussion will be moderated by Mara Airoldi, Director of the Government Outcomes Lab.

Professor Mildred Warner

Mildred Warner is an international expert on restructuring local government services, how to plan for more child and age-friendly cities, and how to promote environmental sustainability at the local level. Decentralisation has elevated the importance of local government worldwide, but social protection is challenged by devolution, privatisation, and fiscal crisis. Cities must pick up the slack and Mildred’s research explores how. She has authored more than a hundred journal articles, book chapters, and professional reports, and has received major research grants from government and foundations. Mildred works closely with local government, planners, policy analysts, economic developers, and union leaders both in the U.S. and abroad. She received her B.A in history from Oberlin College, and her M.S. in agricultural economics and Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell University.

Toby Eccles OBE

Toby co-founded Social Finance in 2007. There are now 70 professionals working in Social Finance UK with sister organisations in the US and Israel, and partnerships with intermediaries in Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Portugal. As Development Director his focus is on new initiatives for the organisation and innovation. He led teams that developed the Social Impact Bond model, from initial concept to the first implementation at Peterborough prison; the first local authority Social Impact Bond in Essex focused on Children in Care; designed the Social Outcomes Fund for the Cabinet Office, the first centrally pooled fund for Impact Bonds; catalysed Development Impact Bonds in partnership with the Center for Global Development; worked with the Inter-American Development Bank on Impact Bond strategies for Chile, Mexico and Brazil; and launched Social Finance Digital Labs, which focus on improving services through generating insight from local government data.