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HM Treasury

Invest to save budget (ISB)


Who, What and Why

Who runs the Invest to Save Budget (ISB)?

The ISB was a joint HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office initiative although in later years has evolved to become a Treasury maintained initiative

What does ISB do?

You could consider it to be 'venture capital' for the public sector. It provides funds for two or more public bodies to work together in partnership to achieve, through innovative projects, better service, savings, or both.


How much money is available?

Altogether, over 9 years, ISB will have put around £460m into innovative partnership projects. To date we Have funded around 480 projects ranging in size from eighteen thousand to eighty million pounds. To date all ISB funds have been spent and it is not known at this stage, but is unlikely, that there will be funding for further rounds of ISB funding

How can we use the money? Are there any restrictions?

Yes there are. Firstly the partnership must come up with at least 25% of the total cost of the project. This should usually be 'cash', not 'in kind' resources. Secondly we expect the overall capital/resource split to be in the order of 20/80%. This means that up to 20% of the overall funds can be used for capital purchases while the remaining 80% should be used for the resource costs of the project. For projects that run for more than one year we expect to see a further in-year breakdown of spend.

Can we 'vire' funds from one area to the other?

In some circumstances - which must be discussed with the ISB secretariat at HM Treasury - there may be room to move funds from resource to capital budgets. Funds cannot be moved in the opposite direction.

What happens if project implementation is slipping?

Again this needs to be discussed with ISB secretariat, however ISB funds are ring-fenced to ensure that they are maintained for the realisation of the projects' objectives and this includes end of year flexibility (EYF). This allows for the re-profiling of project spend to take account of some slippage.

Can we bring forward profiled funds?

No. If spend has been profiled for, say, year 2 it can not be brought forward for use in year 1.

Can we use funds from other sources to reach our 25% 'stake'?

No. By providing the funds from within the partnership you demonstrate commitment to the project.

Does the 25% partnership 'stake' have to reflect the 80/20 current/capital rule that you apply top the overall make-up of the project cost?

No. ISB are only interested that the overall project cost has this 80/20 current/capital mix.

Can we use the ISB component to leverage established funding streams such as EU 'match funding'?


Who is accountable for expenditure on ISB projects?

The lead partner has to provide the accounting Officer or DCO for the project and make arrangements for auditing expenditure on it.

What if the project fails to make the case? Is the money reclaimed?

Projects are only funded after a full economic and risk analysis. The risk is therefore acknowledged, and if the project does not meet its objectives we still consider this to have provided valuable data, for example, in terms of how not to approach a given situation. There is no question of recovering the funding in these circumstances. If a project ceases 'mid-term' without having spent all of their funds HM Treasury would recover the balance.


What about evaluation. Can we evaluate our own project? What evaluation criteria do you expect us to consider?

Given the nature of ISB, and its intent to 'learn lessons' from the investment, it is a requirement that all funded projects provide a full evaluation on completion. For longer projects we would expect a mid-term impact assessment. To ensure objectivity we strongly recommend that someone who is not otherwise involved in the project should complete the evaluation.

A full description of our evaluation criteria can be found in the Treasury 'Green Book'. Briefly, we will want to know;

HM Treasury Green Book

Please Note: ISB is not responsible for the content or availability of external web sites.

What do we have to do during the life of the project?

If you win funding you will be expected to submit a project implementation plan - which would normally be founded on a project management methodology such as PRINCE. This will ask you about your partnership's joint management arrangements, your projected spend and key milestones, and the monitoring and evaluation arrangements that will ensure that these are all running to target. Naturally we would then expect these to be adhered to. Progress reports covering these issues have to be submitted to Treasury every six months, at the end of April and October.


Can we use the Invest to Save Budget Logo?

If you are an ISB project, certainly. In fact we would positively advocate its use in support of our maxim 'working to create an environment in which more people know about ISB, and are better able to access the lessons that are being learnt through the programme'. You can look at our style guide to decide how you can use it.

If you are an ISB project principal partner (i.e. you sit on the partnership board) you can say that you support the programme and use the logo, but only in the context of partnership or innovation. You should never imply that a non-ISB project or programme is connected with the ISB. If you are a third party supplier to an ISB project you may not use the logo.

Where can we get the Invest to Save Budget Logo?

Right here. But you may only use it according to the rules and guidelines given above.

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