Evidence & Policy
Find out more about our work building the evidence base for the sector and pushing for policy change.
Our Research and Reports
At SEUK, we believe that research is a vital component of evidence and influence work which drives progress for social enterprise. For more than a decade, SEUK’s research and evidence gathering has been the foundation of much of the academic and practitioner research on social enterprise in the UK and globally. Data collected by SEUK in the UK on the size and nature of social enterprise activity has driven understanding, awareness and progress. This data has informed public policy from the creation of Big Society Capital and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, to the Social Value Act and the development of public service mutuals as well as the recent Adebowale Commission on Social Investment. Our global research work has allowed us to collaborate with experts across over 30 countries to build world-class knowledge on social enterprise.
SEUK’s research team also works collaboratively with universities, sector experts, corporate partners, social enterprises and research colleagues across the social economy ecosystem to improve understanding of social enterprise.
Our policy and influencing strategy
SEUK works hard to help push for a policy environment in which social enterprises can thrive, working with politicians from across political parties to push for policy changes which benefit the social enterprise community. We also work with decision makers across the public and private sectors from large corporates to local government leaders to highlight the important role social enterprise has to play in building a fairer more sustainable economy.
We have built a reputation for the effectiveness of our campaigns and have a strong track record in influencing the policy agenda such as the creation of the Community Interest Company legislation and the Social Value Act.
APPG for Social Enterprise
Founded in 2003 by Baroness Thornton, it is chaired by Jo Gideon MP with officers from across the main political parties in Parliament. The APPG showcases social enterprises and discusses issues important to the social enterprise movement. Regular events are held in Westminster and a range of different social enterprises invited to attend as guest speakers.
Social Enterprise UK runs the Secretariat for the APPG. Previous APPGs have been used to launch campaigns such as Social Saturday and to explore individual topics in-depth such as how social enterprises can work to rehabilitate former members of the armed forces.
Our thought leadership section contains insights from leaders from across the social enterprise community from analysis of the latest research to opinion pieces responding to the key issues facing the sector.
Adebowale Commission on Social Investment
The Commission on Social Investment was an independent group set up by Lord Victor Adebowale CBE to investigate the state of the social investment market and how the market could better enable the growth of social enterprises.
SEUK provided the secretariat for the Commission which published its finding in January 2022 calling for a “comprehensive structural reform” to the social investment market arguing that “the needs of social enterprises have been deprioritised over the past decade”
Social Value 2032
The introduction of The Social Value Act in 2012, which SEUK was instrumental in helping pass, has also opened up more opportunities for businesses to engage.
The Act obligates any organisation spending public money to consider how the services they commission and procure might also improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the areas they operate in over and above the contracts being delivered.
We are working with PwC, Siemens UK, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, Shaw Trust and Jacobs on this project to extend the application of social value across public and private sector procurement.
The Social Enterprise Knowledge Centre
Demand for information from social enterprises, government, investors and funders is growing exponentially. Our research combines primary quantitative data collection through both a large demographic survey (the State of Social Enterprise) and a quarterly snapshot survey (the Social Enterprise Barometer), integrating external datasets to compare and improve understanding of how social enterprise performs and its needs. Our research work will continue to deepen and broaden understanding to accelerate the growth of social enterprise.
The Social Enterprise Knowledge Centre brings together evidence compiled by SEUK with wider sources of data, to make the UK’s most comprehensive source of information about social enterprise. It houses qualitative and quantitative information and will produce evidence for a range of audiences exploring key thematic areas of interest for social enterprises and their support ecosystem. Working in partnership with social investors, foundations, government, support organisations, academia and social enterprises, the Knowledge Centre will produce a wide range of reports and insight to promote understanding and inform positive change.