Anyone who’d made the mistake of thinking that we were now approaching some sort of clarity about the likely impact of the much Health and Social Care Bill would do well to discard that idea and settle back in the state of bemused confusion that’s been the default position for much of the last year. The latest twist is the realisation that the Any Qualified Provider (AQP)contracting system – which would see patients given the chance to choose services from a range of providers – may turn out to be less of a policy that will be implemented nationally and more of an option that new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) may or may not choose to utilise. And even if CCGs do choose to implement AQP, that could ...more
On Tuesday (8th) I’m speaking at Reality Bites – the truth about delivering public services through social enterprise, this year’s Guardian social enterprise conference. There’s an impressive line-up of speakers and I’m speaking in the early afternoon session ‘Growth, innovation and risk – what’s stopping social enterprises from scaling up in the public sector?’.
It won’t surprise The Guardian to hear – in fact, I imagine this is why they’ve invited me – that I take issue with the implication that a key goal of the social enterprise movement should be to have as large a percentage of public services as possible delivered by large organisations describing themselves as social enterprises.
On the other hand, unlike parts of the trade union movement ...more
In most cases, if a husband filing for divorce, followed up that action by asking his wife whether she’d be happy to hand over the family home to his mistress, it wouldn’t go down too well. Bearing that in mind, it’s probably not especially surprising that (according to reports on Social Enterprise) members of Rise, the sound to be disbanded social enterprise umbrella body for the south west of England, have voted against transferring the organisation’s remaining assets to controversial accreditation scheme, the Social Enterprise Mark.
It’s quite possible that some of the members may now question whether Rise should have devoted less of its energies to ...more
I’m sure I’m not the only social entrepreneur who’s a bit bored of being asked variations on the question ‘how do you balance your social and commercial aims?’ So bored, in fact, that I may soon reach the point where I resort to the answer ‘on the end of my nose at an angle of between 60 and 80 degrees depending on wind speed’.
The question in its various forms is based on an assumption that is fundamentally incorrect – the assumption that social enterprises that are commercially unsuccessful are unsuccessful because, in their day-to-day approach to business, they prioritise social aims over commercial aims, and successful social enterprises are successful for the opposite reason.
It’s an assumption that some at the more charity-oriented and of the social enterprise spectrum trade on to add sparkle to their halos and that some at the more social business end of spectrum trade on during bouts of macho posturing about how real businesses never need grants.
Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while will know that I haven’t always been in agreement with the approach of leading organisations in the social enterprise lobby. For much of the 2005-2010, the organisation then known as the Social Enterprise Coalition – now Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) – seemed to me to be concentrating on promoting the message that the general public were simultaneously unaware that social enterprise existed and overwhelmingly keen for as much of the public sector as possible to be run by social enterprises.
This message annoyed me a lot. Partly because it had, at best, an arms length relationship with reality but more importantly because it was a line that suited the interests of a few large public service delivering social enterprises, and the vast armies of social enterprises advisers and consultants that were directly and indirectly bankrolled by New Labour, but seemed to be of very little use to the vast majority of people trying to ...more
I’m grateful to Social Business Brokers’ Rob Greenland for drawing my attention to last week’s session of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee devoted to ‘Care Markets’. During the session, MPs quizzed leading civil servants responsible for the personalisation agenda, Putting People First, on how implementation is (or, in many cases, isn’t) progressing.
The discussion of personal budgets – beginning at question 50 – focuses on a number of key problems with roll out of personalisation across England so far. One of the biggest, highlighted in the initial question from Anne McGuire MP, is that the extent to which local councils have followed government ...more
“It caused unnecessary resentment among those in the Labour Party and the voluntary sector who quite justifiably felt that they had been successfully fostering a big society for decades. And people mistook it for a policy agenda, building conferences and seminars around it only to find there wasn’t much to chew on.“
That’s Third Sector editor, Stephen Cook, isolating some of the key factors as he uses latest editorial to part-suggest, part-announce the beginning of the end of the Big Society. He may be partly right. If the aim of using the phrase Big Society was, to some extent, to detoxify the Tory brand by illustrating that the party had moved beyond Mrs Thatcher’s ‘no such thing as’, it’s failed. In fact, by drawing (particularly) volunteer-led community activity under the Big ...more
Interesting posts over last few days from a couple of thoughtful leading figures in the social enterprise movement. Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), takes in the death of Steve Jobs and the party conference season while primarily focusing on the evolving relationship between social enterprise and (big) business. SEUK along with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and others, are about to move into a new social enterprise hub developed by accountants PwC at the Fire Station near London Bridge.
This is one of several signs of the growing affection between corporate giants and the social enterprise lobby. ...more
“The tragedy is that the government has adopted a laissez-faire approach to the delivery of the big society. It has claimed that if the state stepped back, and social enterprise was incentivised (not least by the “Big Society Bank”), then the civic sector would grow itself – and there is no doubt that, in some parts, that will be true. But there is no civic infrastructure on which to base this innovation. It required a retail offering – every town or village or locality should have had its own big society platform where people could go for advice and input, and where the new powers in the Localism Bill could be explained and augmented with civic expertise, training in social entrepreneurship and the delivery of public service.“
It’s a been difficult week for supporters of an increase in social enterprise delivery of NHS services. First commissioners in Surrey awarded a £500 million contract to a private sector provider owned by Virgin rather than a flagship spin out, then a few days later Civil Society reported that plucky campaigners in Gloucestershire had succeeded in derailing their local PCT’s plan to hive off its delivery arm into a Community Interest Company (CIC).