A message from our Director of External Affairs

A new newsletter and a new big political event, this time the Prime Minister’s first reshuffle since the General Election. Perhaps, we should just discontinue these newsletters to give everyone a break??

In all seriousness, the reshuffle marks a fresh opportunity for the sector to reengage with the government and build a better economy that works for all our communities. At the time of writing, we know that we are going to get a new Secretary of State for Business and a new Secretary of State for DCMS – two departments which have a big influence on social enterprise.

As you’d expect, we will be beating a path to their door very shortly to make sure that they understand the potential of social enterprise to transform our society.

There is plenty that government can be getting on with, and one way is strengthening the Social Value Act.

Under the Cabinet Office Minister (and most likely new SoS for DCMS) Oliver Dowden, we have seen a bit of a renaissance in social value. A consultation last year, launched at our Social Value Leaders Summit, saw the government promise to use social value in all central government procurement, worth around £50bn a year. This is a significant step forward.

But there is more that could be done both in the public and private sector. Hopefully we will get that from our new Secretary of State. Strong leadership from government is essential to making this happen.

We are hosting our Social Value Leaders Summit again this year, bringing together leaders from across public, private and social sectors to discuss what practical action can be taken to embed social value across our economy. This time the event us in Manchester. An example of progressive leadership in local government is our keynote speaker, Andy Burnham – the Mayor of Greater Manchester. We have a fantastic line up of speakers from across the social enterprise and private sectors as well as Claire Dove, the VCSE Crown Representative who will be able to update us on what next steps the government is undertaking. There are still some tickets left, so if anyone from your senior leadership team is interested in attending make sure you book your place before it sells out.

A new government also presents an opportunity to influence the future development of social investment. Access to capital remains a big challenge for social enterprises, despite a whole range of government initiatives over the past decade. Our Chair, Lord Victor Adebowale, is setting up an independent commission to look into social investment, so watch out for further updates on this.

Andrew O’Brien,

Director of External Affairs, Social Enterprise UK