contact_arrow down_arrow down_arrow2 europe facebook instagram left_arrow left_arrow2 logo_menu markets measurement menu models money play right_arrow right_arrow2 contact_arrow twitter up_arrow up_arrow2 vimeo exchange

The social enterprise difference in public services is demonstrated by data including:

The Social Value Difference in Health and Care Commissioning

The Health and Social Value Programme supported health and care commissioners to make the most of the Social Value Act. The programme built evidence “of the difference procuring for social value can make in health and care” and was funded by the Department of Health.

Social Enterprise UK and the Institute for Voluntary Action Research worked with twelve areas in England over three years, supporting each to enact their specific social value priorities within health and care commissioning.

SEUK’s short (eight page) report demonstrates that in Health and Care Commissioning, social enterprise:

  • increases opportunities to deliver on local priorities
  • addresses health inequalities
  • strengthens local economies by spending and investing more money within them
  • supports local small and medium sized enterprises and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations
  • can enable integration between sectors

Social Ventures more likely to survive than PLCs

Research by the University of Northampton, commissioned by E3M, examined the survival rates of the top 100 social ventures in comparison with the top 100 PLCs over a 30-year timeframe, from 1984 to 2014.

The research found that the top 100 social ventures – including both social enterprises and charities that engaged in commercial trading – were not any more likely than PLCs to cease operating, or fail to repay investment. Nor were they short-term ventures:

  • when compared with the top 100 PLCs over a 30-year period, the top social ventures were more likely to survive in the top list
  • overall, 41 per cent of these ‘competitive third sector organisations’ had endured, compared with 33 per cent of the PLCs

Professionals managing public finances describe social enterprise success

Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) members are professionals managing money in public authorities.

A 2019 survey by CIPFA of its members revealed:

  • more than eight out of ten said social enterprises had been successful in delivering services
  • only three percent believed social enterprises had been unsuccessful or very unsuccessful
  • sixty per cent thought social enterprises would have a greater role in the future, citing reasons including their flexibility, increased wariness of working with commercial companies and joint ventures; and increased confidence in the capacity of social enterprises

Manchester’s progressive procurement has extensive benefits

Manchester City Council’s long-term work on progressive procurement policy and practice led to extensive local, public, community, economic and social benefits.

  • The proportion of total procurement spend with organisations based in, or with a branch in Manchester, increased by 22.1 per cent in seven years, from 51.5 per cent to 73.6 per cent.
  • In the same timeframe, re-spend by suppliers back into the Manchester economy increased from 25 pence in the £1 to 43 pence in the £1.
  • In the year to 2015–16, the city’s top 300 suppliers created jobs, apprenticeships, volunteering and community activities, and employment opportunities for people who had formerly been described as ‘hard-to-reach’.
  • The city’s progressive procurement approach “challenged the largely orthodox approach to the process of procurement, whereby: the cost of buying the good or service is the key factor; the process is overly bureaucratic and complex; and risk adversity is a key barrier to change,” according to The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)’ report, The Power of Procurement II.

What next?

The social enterprise difference in public services is real, measurable and results in better outcomes for people and places. Download and share our short leaflet here.