In recent weeks, I’ve been reading some of the Third Sector Research Centre(TSRC)’s work on Below the Radar organisations. As TSRC’s researchers explain here, “‘Below the radar’ has become a short-hand term for small community groups who are either not registered with the Charity Commission or other regulatory bodies and/or lack a regular, substantial annual income.“
Yesterday, I was in Birmingham for my first meeting as an elected member of the Council of national social enterprise support organisation, Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). The list of Council members, available if you follow the above link, hasn’t been updated yet but I am on the council as an elected representative of SEUK’s social enterprise members.
Readers won’t be surprised to learn that one of yesterday’s major discussions was around the future of social enterprise support in the UK. Given my role as a representative rather than a journalist, it would be impolite to report details of what fellow council members and SEUK staff had to say (they are, of course, very welcome to contribute comments to this blog) but I think it’s reasonable to report that – broadly speaking – a grand plan for preserving regional support did not emerge ...more
This is a break from my usual thoughts on the world of social enterprise – though not entirely disconnected. My social enterprise, Social Spider CIC, is launching a new publication today. It’s called Better Mental Health in a Bigger Society? and it’s published by mental health umbrella organisation, Mental Health Providers Forum. If you’d like to read it, it’s available for download here.
“What’s been lacking, until now, is a comprehensive survey of the social investment market that goes beyond case study and anecdote to provide real data on the different players, their finances and their business models.”
So says Nick O’Donohue, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, in his introduction to Lighting the touchpaper – Growing the Market for Social Investment in England, a new report jointly published by The Young Foundation and The Boston Consulting Group. Social investment’s not a subject that been starved of research recently, aside from ...more
Today might be a great day for social enterprise. Today’s the day that Chris White MP’s Public Services (Social Value) Bill reaches its report stage in the House of Commons which – roughly speaking – means it’s almost completed its journey through the House of Commons, at which point it will move to the House of Lords.
The main aim of the Bill is to tackle the perceived failure – certainly perceived by social entrepreneurs – of public sector agencies to consider wider social value (beyond price and competence) when commissioning services from outside providers.
For those readers who haven’t been following the story so far, White’s original Bill had ‘social enterprise’ in the title and included a clear definition of what a social enterprise was. It also committed councils (and the government) to producing social enterprise strategies but ...more
Day two of this year’s Shine Unconference at Hub Westminster began with Liam Black, formerly of FRC and Fifteen – now running Wavelength, delivering a presentation called ‘How to screw* up at being socially enterprising’.
The bulk of the presentation focused on Black’s ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Social Entrepreneurship’ which were (in some cases paraphrased): ...more
- Convince yourself that having a good idea (in itself) changes anything
- Be really vague about your purpose
- Come to believe that your unwillingness to pay attention to detail is a charming quirk
Social enterprise support charity, Unltd, are the prime movers behind Shine which was launched in 2008 as an alternative (or perhaps antidote) to the formulaic conferences laid on by both the public sector and conventional conference organisers. This year’s event was curated by communications company, Culture Group and social enterprise, Red Button Design.
Shine is unusual in being a social enterprise conference aimed at social entrepreneurs. ...more
For the first time ever, a private company is poised to take over the management of an NHS hospital. Following a decision finalised last week, Circle Health will begin running the debt-ridden Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridge in February 2012. The company will have a ten-year contract and will be expected to cut the hospital’s debt and make a profit by reducing costs and increasing business from within the NHS.
Part of the story is the ongoing debate about ‘privatisation of the NHS’. Health Minister, Simon Burns, quoted by This Is Money makes clear that – from the government’s point of view – this is not what’s happening: “No NHS staff are leaving and assets remain within the public ownership. ...more
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