Book News: January 17th, 2008

Good governance is essential for social enterprises to thrive and be sustainable, according to research from the Governance Hub and the Social Enterprise Coalition. The research, undertaken by the Open University into the governance needs of social enterprises, shows that a priority for the sector is to strengthen links with governance advisers and consultants working at local and regional levels and provide them with appropriate training and support.

The report comes at a very important time when social enterprises are growing and becoming increasingly important in many areas such as public service delivery and welfare to work initiatives.

Social enterprises need specific support and information on areas such as overseeing commercial activity and managing business risks, legal and governance structures for trading subsidiaries and small organisations and the governance of multi-organisation partnerships. However, the research also reveals that the governance advice sought by social enterprises share similarities with other community based organisations. This includes problems maintaining the balance between social and business goals, getting
people with the right skills for boards, involving users in governance issues, accountability to users, ‘founder syndrome’, and access to information on governance, especially for smaller organisations.

The report is available from the Governance Hub.