Headlines: May 14th, 2009

Businesses that provide social value are to benefit from a wide package of new measures designed to boost social enterprises in creating new jobs, new businesses and delivering public services.

The 60,000 British social enterprises which turnover some £27bn. have not fulfilled expectations and they have failed in bids to secure an increasing proportion of public service contracts. Measures announced by the Office of the Third Sector are aimed at reversing this trend.

A new Ministerial Working Group will be set up to ensure a level playing field for social enterprises and charities to compete for specific public service delivery contracts. There is a Government commitment to create 25,000 new jobs in social enterprises and charities. The evidence is building up to show that changes to create a level playing field and make it easier for social enterprise organizations to secure contracts are failing to deliver because cultural barriers and old style thinking is stopping progress.

The cultural barrier will be tackled directly with a new publication ‘Guide to Social Return on Investment’ which will go to public service leaders in local and central government.

A weakness of many social enterprise organizations is lack of funding and a new FutureBuilders Investment Plan sets out how £45.6 million of public money this year will help organizations to deliver public services, through a new fast-track investment process. There will also be a new year long Social Enterprise Access to Investment programme, delivered in partnership with NESTA. The programme will help social enterprises make the most of the new investment that will be available.