Book News: February 2nd, 2011

By Ed Cox and Jenni Viitanen.

This Good Practice Guide summarises the findings and recommendations of new research which explores the critical success factors for community and social enterprises working in deprived communities in the North West of England. The guide seeks to set out material gathered through the research in an accessible way for practitioners, particularly those working in local authorities.

Social enterprise has been climbing the policy agenda in recent years, and represents an important concern of the Coalition Government. The ‘Big Society’ has emerged as a key theme for the new government, placing community and voluntary organisations at the heart of public policy making, with a central role to play in public service delivery and civil society. Early policy statements emphasised in particular the role of social enterprise, setting out measures to support the growth of existing social enterprises and the establishment of new ones.

This definition of social and community enterprises fits a number of different types of organisations, most obviously community anchor organisations: substantial multi-purpose organisations that provide a range of services to a community and own or manage a local asset, such as a community centre. However community anchors and community centres are not the only form of community enterprise. They can also be much smaller organisations, operating where the free market does not provide a sufficient return for private enterprise.

The Guide includes case studies which show how enterprises are supporting deprived communities.

The Guide is available here.