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On 5 August 2013 - 12:01pm

According to the Daily Mirror, a large provider of outsourced public services ‘has terminated 2,400 employees’ contracts and issued new ones – including 300 zero-hour agreements‘.

So far, so unsurprising. This is typical of the assault on the rights of low paid workers committed by unscrupulous private employers in the outsourced public service sector. In this case, the organisation responsible is a charity which claims to be a social enterprise.

Last year, Social Enterprise UK took a stand against this kind of behaviour with the publication of The Shadow State.

As that report ...more

On 2 August 2013 - 11:36am

When the then leader of the opposition, David Cameron, launched The Big Society in his 2009 Hugo Young lecture it seemed like he (or, at least, his adviser Steve Hilton) had hit on a really good idea.

On the one hand, it was an attempt to slay the ghost of Margaret Thatcher’s much quoted assertion that there was ‘no such thing as society’, on the other it was a radical critique of the growth the state under New Labour.

Cameron key point was that while Blair and Brown had spent huge amounts of money, inequality had actually increased. His new improved Tories cared about growing poverty and inequality but offered a positive alternative to Labour’s approach of chucking just chucking money at the problem.

In his lecture Cameron rejected calls from ‘some on the centre-right’ for big spending cuts saying: “Our ...more

On 22 July 2013 - 3:14pm

Social enterprises are out-performing mainstream SMEs. That’s the headline message from The People’s Business, the latest Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) state of social enterprise report, which was launched earlier this month.

The People’s Business, like its predecessor Fightback Britain, is a serious piece of work that, while understandably accentuating the positive, provides lots of meaningful data on the experiences of social enterprise in the UK.

It ...more

On 18 July 2013 - 9:43am

“…It’s no surprise that the approach to social investment and, by extension, social innovation being pushed forward by the UK government is popular with other countries’ governments and international business leaders…my latest piece for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network looks at the World Economic Forum’s take on social innovation.


On 16 July 2013 - 12:35pm

… There clearly are ways that social organisations can grow and sustain themselves without being profitable trading businesses. One of the most obvious ones is getting large numbers of people to give you money… ” – my latest mythbuster for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network.


On 11 July 2013 - 12:04pm

There’s a new artisan bakery in Hackney in east London. What is different about the Better Health Bakery is that it’s an artisan bakery run by the mental health charity the Centre for Better Health... ” – my latest feature for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network.


On 8 July 2013 - 11:24am

Last week, I was interviewed by a PHD student whose PHD is focused on social entrepreneurship – what it is and why people do it. He asked me how I came to co-found a social enterprise in the first place. While my answer at the time probably wasn’t very interesting, considering the question did get me thinking about what it was that first started me off on my journey towards my current position as a 32-year-old grizzled veteran of the UK social enterprise scene.

It all began when, as an 18 year-old A-Level student, I got a phone call from a bloke who was putting together a TV show about urban arts. At the time, I was an up-and-coming performance poet, and the caller had got my details from The Poetry Society who’d thought I might be interested in appearing in his TV show.

At a subsequent meeting ...more

On 4 July 2013 - 2:37pm

… potential crowdfunders take an emotional decision to give you a relative small amount of their own cash based on liking what you’re trying to do. That’s one of the key advantages of crowdfunding for social ventures. It’s also one of the key disadvantagesmy latest monthly blog post for The Young Foundation.


On 17 June 2013 - 3:32pm

… It’s clear that if enough agencies chuck enough public money in the right directions, it is possible both for some social enterprises to get bigger and other fairly big social enterprises to be created. The question is whether growing numbers of big social enterprises will automatically deliver a big (positive) social impact… ” – my latest mythbuster for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network.


On 12 June 2013 - 5:10pm

there’s plenty of bluster and over-optimism in the UK social enterprise sector, but representation of women in leadership roles is one area where the sector genuinely is doing well (or, at least, far less badly than the private sectormy latest blog post for The Young Foundation.