Government highlights value of Social Enterprises to the UK

Government highlights value of Social Enterprises to the UK


The Cabinet Office’s Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector, yesterday called on social enterprises to work in partnership with government to realise their full potential as a movement for progressive social change.

Speaking at Voice 07, the sector’s annual conference, Mr Miliband outlined progress happening across Government to promote the work of social enterprises, and praised their capacity to have a profound impact on both business and public services alike.

Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector, spoke of social enterprise’s ability to be “the vanguard for a social movement”.

“The vision is this: private and public sectors profoundly changed by social enterprise.”

“In the private sector social enterprise is showing business doesn’t have to be about shareholder value, it can be about social value. In the public sector you are showing how services can be delivered in a way that is focused around the user.”

Mr Milband was joined by three other government ministers at the conference in setting out the immediate progress made in delivering on commitments made in the Government’s Social Enterprise Action Plan, launched by the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office last November.

Department of Health (DH):
DH is continuing its work in setting up social enterprises to work alongside the NHS to deliver health services, by:
• announcing a £73m fund to be spread over 4years and made available for supporting and encouraging the development of social enterprises in health and social care;
•  revealing the 25 pathfinder projects who can apply for a share of a £1m start-up fund.

Ivan Lewis, Minister for Care Services, said: ‘Social enterprises will have a key role in the reform of how health and community services are delivered, with the aim of supporting choice and making a real difference to people’s lives. We are underpinning these reforms with proper financial backing.’

Department for Education and Skills (DfES):
DfES is pushing ahead on work to nurture the next generation of social entrepreneurs, by:
• working with the QCA to get social enterprise incorporated into the Business Studies Curriculum;
•  encouraging schools to organise social enterprise projects – these are shown to improve morale, attendance and achievement – and to highlight social enterprise as part of careers guidance for pupils;
•  encouraging commissioning authorities to build closer relationships with social enterprises.

Parmjit Dhanda, Minister for Children, Young People and Families, said: ‘Social entrepreneurs are innovative, creative and sensible risk-takers. We want more students in schools colleges and universities to be social entrepreneurs. Through social entrepreneurship, pupils learn new skills and broaden their horizons – and many schools report it boosts attainment and attendance.’

Department for Trade and Industry (DTI):
DTI is working to improve the type and amount of business support social enterprises have access to, by:
• ensuring carries information and advice to meet the specific needs of social enterprises;
• working closely with RDAs and the OTS to ensure good quality advice and support is available locally for social enterprises;
• undertaking a major simplification of available support for all businesses including social enterprises – making it easier to find help and support.

Margaret Hodge, Industry and Regions Minister, said: ‘Britain has some of the most successful and vibrant social enterprises in the world. The sector generates £27bn turnover a year and contributes £8.4bn to GDP. It makes economic sense to enhance their success and give communities throughout the country a great social and environmental boost.’

The Office of the Third Sector (OTS), in the Cabinet Office: The OTS is driving forward with the delivery of funding opportunities, and work to expand the research base of the sector, by:
• launching a tender process for £3m of funding over 3years for organisations to provide an expert and representative voice for the sector to government;
• announcing two social enterprises who have successfully bid to lead £100,000 research projects investigating ways to encourage private sector investment;
• initiating a new programme of research papers to generate new ideas and stimulate debate around the future of social enterprise.
• making preparations to make available £10m for co-investment with the private sector in social enterprises;
• working with the sector to develop the programme to appoint 20 social enterprise ambassadors to champion the sector.