LESLIE HUCKFIELD RESEARCH offers the following proposals as a basis for further discussion.
It is proposed that £400mn Dormant and Unclaimed Bank and Building Society Accounts, together with a further £200mn investment under the Merlin Agreement from four major banks – previously allocated to Big Society Capital and its intermediaries for development of a Social Investment Market – should now be reallocated to regional Social Enterprise Networks for their decision on spending priorities.
Following detailed consultation with appropriate regional Social Enterprise Networks, it is proposed that for future Social Enterprise support and development, these Networks might seek to pursue the following Menu Options:
A) Supporting Social Enterprise Regional/Local Networks
B) Public Social Partnerships And Change Funds
C) Social Enterprise Markets Programme and Social Enterprise Infrastructure Support Fund
A) SUPPORTING SOCIAL ENTERPRISE REGIONAL NETWORKS
(the following to be discussed):
To ensure that Social Enterprises are better funded, informed, encouraged and supported to develop, grow and contribute to public and other service provision and delivery.
- To encourage national and local government, Trusts and Foundations to create new Social Enterprise funding programmes, initiatives and availability, including investment in new structures.
- To improve communication and connections, information sharing and links between social entrepreneurs and Social Enterprises across regional areas. This will include Best Practice and Case Studies of Social Enterprises with other sectors.
- To provide up to date, relevant information and support of benefit to Social Enterprise and Social Firms at the level of individual organisations. This will include collection and dissemination of information on Social Enterprise turnover, employment, contracts and other relevant information.
- To ensure Social Enterprises are better informed on policy development and signposting to local, regional and national support programmes and initiatives. This will include building partnerships with Higher Education Social Enterprise and other policy initiatives.
- To develop and promote mutual Social Enterprise support and inter-trading opportunities. This will include development of partnership models and templates
- To optimise regional and local initiatives so that these incorporate and relate to local Social Enterprise and Third Sector developments.
To enhance the profile of Social Enterprises, their value to local communities, meeting regional and national objectives using policy engagement and media.
- To raise the profile of Social Enterprise as a business model, through highlighting values and benefits of Social Enterprise to broad range of stakeholders. This will include key communication points to be agreed by local Social Enterprises.
- To increase understanding and awareness of Social Firms and work integration opportunities. This will ensure that a coherent message is given to others involved in regional and local development.
- To measure, record and disseminate economic progress of Social Enterprises and Social Firms and identify ways in which they can improve performance. This will include mapping and membership surveys and joint events to promote Social Enterprise.
To ensure that influence and contributions from Social Enterprise to policy development locally and nationally is enhanced
- To represent the needs and views of Social Enterprise to policy and decision makers at regional, local and national levels to assist proactive policy development. This will ensure that Social Enterprises are better informed and that Social Enterprise is promoted as a contributor to public service delivery.
B) PUBLIC SOCIAL PARTNERSHIPS AND CHANGE FUNDS
(the following to be discussed):
1) Public Social Partnerships (further details and examples to be provided)
A Public Service Partnership (PSP) differs from other commissioning approaches since it is based on needs to be addressed, rather than services available. These needs become the driver for other partnerships. A PSP typically comprises three stages:
- Social Enterprises work with public sector purchasers to design a service
- A consortium of public, Social Enterprise and Third sector Organisations may conduct a short-term pilot, helping to refine service delivery parameters
- The service is further developed to maximise community benefit before being competitively tendered
The PSP Concept was developed in Scotland under the previous EQUAL Social Economy Scotland Partnership. PSPs can enable the delivery of public services more efficiently, with more person-centred outcomes for users of services and through promoting co-production in service design. PSPs also give all partners the opportunity to test out new service designs through piloting.
2) Change Funds (based on current Scottish Government funding models)
The Scottish Government currently operates 3 Change Funds – for Reducing Reoffending, Integration of Adult Health and Social Care and Early Years, which fund development and operation of public/Third Sector Partnerships for integrated services. This approach might be expanded in various regional and local areas.
C) DEVELOPMENT OF MARKETS AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE INFRASTRUCTURE
(the following to be discussed):
1)Developing Social Enterprise Markets (based on current Scottish Government Programme)
- The Programme would complement the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and other procurement initiatives. The Programme might be delivered regionally by a consortium of Social Enterprise Organisations to develop ways forward, including the Public Social Partnership model (see below), Community Benefit Clauses and use of Social Value throughout public sector commissioning and procurement.
- This Programme would increase Social Enterprise engagement in service design to meet community needs and increase overall Social Enterprise sustainability, whilst offering public bodies the opportunity to commission services efficiently and effectively.
- Resulting from this public sector commissioners would be able to contract sustainably, maximise Social Value, and deepen their engagement with Social Enterprise.
2)Social Enterprise Infrastructure Fund (based on NCVO Funding Commission Report 2009)
Regional Restructuring Funds might be established:
- The Social Enterprise Infrastructure Fund might assist one-off support, legal costs and re-structuring costs. An amount might be earmarked for rationalising and/or restructuring regional and local infrastructure and, where necessary, bringing provision in certain areas up to minimum levels consistent with quality standards for service tendering.
- Regional and Local Social Enterprise Networks would provide a significant role in helping to reconfigure the present pattern of infrastructure, through:
- Working with relevant regional structures and key funders like Big Lotery, Trusts and Foundations at the national, regional and local level, to discuss and develop a Social Enterprise Infrastructure and Support Strategy
- Highlighting where investment needed to bring provision up to standards and ensuring best use made of ICT by Social Enterprise infrastructure bodies and their service users
- Encouraging Social Enterprise Infrastructure Networks to apply for support for developing merger or collaborative working and shared support
Though the above proposals are based on funding and projects under programmes and recommendations elsewhere, they are offered here as a basis for discussion and detailed consultation with appropriate regional Social Enterprise Networks.
LESLIE HUCKFIELD RESEARCH strongly believes that these proposals offer more appropriate ways forward for Social Enterprises than those currently promoted by Big Society Capital and its attendant intermediaries and supporters – including Social Enterprise UK and London Third Sector Organisations.
Since many of these proposals are based on those which are currently operating in Scotland, funding suggestions are offered primarily as a basis for further discussion with appropriate regional Social Enterprise Networks across England and, where appropriate, other devolved nations. These suggestions recognise the acute funding problems now faced by many Social Enterprises – for which the Social Investment products offered by Big Society Capital and its intermediaries fail to understand or offer a solution.