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20 years of Social Enterprise UK

26 July 2022 Social Enterprise UK celebrated its 20th anniversary at a special event held at the House of Lords terrace in the Palace of Westminster last Monday, on one of the hottest days of the year. It was a chance to look back and celebrate what SEUK and its members have achieved together over the last two decades and an opportunity to look forward to the future. Since being formed as the Social Enterprise Coalition, 20 years ago, SEUK has been a strong voice and champion for social enterprise in the UK, raising awareness of social enterprise and lobbying for change. SEUK was instrumental in the passing of the Social Value Act, the establishment of the Community Interest Community as a legal structure; and making social investment more accessible to social enterprises through the creation of Big Society Capital and, more recently, the Access Foundation. Over the years our ‘Buy Social’ work has grown from a campaign encouraging social enterprises to buy from each other - to one which is helping shape the supply chains of some of the UK’s biggest businesses through the Buy Social Corporate Challenge – an initiative which now has 30 corporate partners, and which has directed millions of pounds worth of spend towards social enterprises. SEUK's public-facing Buy Social campaigns have raised awareness of social enterprise and spread the word about buying from social enterprises to consumers.  As well as marking some of SEUK’s achievements over the last 20 years SEUK’s two former chairs, Baroness Glenys Thornton and Claire Dove CBE, shared their reflections of their time at the organisation and how it, and social enterprise, has grown and developed. Our current chair, Lord Victor Adebowale CBE set out the critical role social enterprise needs to play in the future of the economy and how SEUK, as the champion for the social enterprise movement, needs to ensure that those who either do not know what a social enterprise is or who do not care understand the that the social enterprise movement is a real catalyst for positive change. Lord Adebowale commented: “We’ve got to make them understand that if they’re interested in the future of the country, in fact the future of the planet, it’s social enterprise that they need to be interested in. They’re looking for solutions and we’re it” The need for social enterprises to be part of the climate change solution was apparent to everyone gathered in the room, as the outside temperature hit just under 40 degrees. As well as hearing from our Chair, former Chairs and Chief Executive SEUK members present voted on a resolution that enables SEUK to continue to invest in political activity. This resolution was passed unanimously by a quorate number of SEUK members. This will help us continue to champion and push for policy change that benefits social enterprise and position social enterprises as a fundamental part of an inclusive and sustainable economy. We know that the extreme temperatures made it impossible for many people to attend but we would like to thank everyone who was able to join us in Westminster and celebrate the last 20 years. We’d also like to extend our thanks to all our members, partners and supporters who have been instrumental in supporting our work over the years. Social Enterprise UK is nothing without its members and none of our achievements would have been possible without you. We look forward to working with you as we move forward and continue to make the case as to why social enterprise represents business at its best.

26 Jul

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3 min

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Use “precious” Dormant Assets to grow business in communities, says new coalition

9 June 2022 Social enterprise, charity representative bodies and social investors have joined forces to call on Government to get behind a new plan to back enterprises in underserved places and communities in the forthcoming consultation on Dormant Assets. A 12-week consultation on the future use of dormant assets in England is expected to be launched this summer. The expanded scheme could release more than £880m additional funds for charities and social enterprises. A new ‘Community Enterprise Growth Plan’ focuses on the untapped potential for growing enterprises with a social purpose across the country, particularly in places and communities that have been deprived of investment in the past. This includes areas identified by the index of multiple deprivation and those led by or serving protected groups such as people from ethnic minority backgrounds, those with an impairment or facing gender bias.  The plan centres on providing increased access to capital, dedicated funding to encourage the growth of trading activity, and tailored business support. The coalition giving their backing to the plan includes SEUK, Navca, Power to Change and UnLtd, among others. It looks to leverage both private and philanthropic capital, alongside Dormant Assets – doubling the amount available to communities and ensuring the finite resources available through the scheme are used to maximum effect. The plan builds on a strong track record of utilising Dormant Assets over 10 years to invest in social enterprises, community businesses and trading charities, and complements other proposed uses of dormant assets. It would see Dormant Assets applied to a range of tried and tested interventions to support enterprise and trading activities by VCSEs including: Helping smaller charities and social enterprises to access suitable and affordable finance through blending grants and loans in the places and communities most in need of investment.Start-up funding for a £50m Black-led social investment fund as recommended by the recent Adebowale Commission on Social Investment to tackle the current inequity in social investment.Supporting a vibrant network of non-profit lenders (Community Development Financial Institutions or CDFIs) that can offer affordable finance to community businesses and small enterprises in areas unable to access mainstream lending.Providing tailored business support and incentives for purpose-driven enterprises to grow through trading in the form of match trading initiatives coupled with learning. Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK said: “This consultation marks a once-in-a-decade opportunity to decide how we use hundreds of millions of pounds to help communities. We must use this precious resource wisely. Ultimately, we know that trading is the only route to lasting transformational change. The Community Enterprise Growth Plan is a smart way to deploy limited funds to support social enterprises in places that need them. I hope that the Government listens to the social enterprise sector and experts in backing this proposal.”  Notes The existing Dormant Assets Scheme enables banks and building societies to channel funds from dormant bank and building society accounts towards good causes. The Scheme is led by industry and backed by the government with the aim of reuniting people with their financial assets. Where this is not possible, this money goes towards social and environmental initiatives across the UK. The scheme is set to be expanded later this year – including assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors for the first time – following a consultation on the causes that should benefit from the scheme in England. The Community Enterprise Growth Plan has been developed and supported by a range of organisations including: Access – the Foundation for Social InvestmentBig Society CapitalImpact Investing InstituteNavcaPower to ChangeSchool for Social EntrepreneursSocial Enterprise UKSocial Investment Business UnLtdMore detail can be found here including further expressions of support for the plan. 

09 Jun

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Jo Gideon MP elected as new Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprise

30 May 2022 The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Social Enterprise has announced that Jo Gideon MP has been elected as its new Chair, following the decision by Alex Sobel MP to stand down after five years in the role. Gideon, the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central, was elected to Parliament in 2019 and has brought her experience as a social entrepreneur and small business owner to the Commons. The APPG for Social Enterprise is a cross-party group of MPs and Peers that seeks to raise awareness of social enterprise within Westminster. Earlier this year, the APPG published a report into the impact of COVID-19 on the social enterprise sector. The APPG holds regular meetings throughout the year to connect Parliamentarians and social enterprises together. Commenting on her election to Chair of the APPG, Jo Gideon MP said: “It is a privilege to have been elected as the Chair of the APPG on Social Enterprise. I have been an active champion for social enterprise throughout my life as they play a hugely valuable role within our economy and our communities through their vital work to improve the lives of those they support. Over the years I have both set up and advised a wide range of social enterprises and am keen to ensure a wider awareness of supporting the sector.” Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK which provides the Secretariat to the APPG said: “The APPG for Social Enterprise plays an important role in championing social enterprise and I am pleased that Jo has been elected as the new Chair. She comes to the role at an important time for our sector as we look to find ways for social enterprise to contribute towards levelling up the country and achieving Net Zero. Social Enterprise UK will continue to provide support to the APPG so that we build the best possible environment for social enterprise to flourish.” “I would also like to put on record the sector’s thanks to Alex Sobel for his chairing of the APPG over the past five years. He has been a dedicated Chair and advocate for social enterprise, and I am sure that we will continue to work together in the future.”

30 May

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2 min

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Smarter public sector procurement could unlock over £50bn a year to help levelling up

May 18 2022 A new report by Social Value 2032 and authored by Professor Chris White – former Member of Parliament and author of the Social Value Act – has found that smarter public sector procurement could unleash an extra £56bn per year in social value which could be used to level up the country, tackle Net Zero and strengthen communities. Social Value 2032 is a new partnership and programme of work delivered by PwC, Shaw Trust, Siemens, Suez recycling and recovery UK and overseen by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). Ten years after the passage of the Social Value Act, which places an obligation on public bodies to consider the wider economic, social and environmental impact of the services they commission and procure, this partnership has launched a new report: Social Value 2032: Creating a Social Value Economy. The report outlines a new vision for social value, a way of using procurement to create added social, economic and environmental impact through spending by public bodies and private companies. Social Enterprise UK has analysed the past decade of public spending and found that the UK public sector is only realising a fraction of the benefits that could be generated through greater embedding of social value. The analysis found that between 2010 and 2020 an estimated £36bn could have been generated through social value in public sector procurement. An estimated £762bn could have been generated if social value had been implemented universally across the public sector from day one of the Social Value Act.   Using this figure SEUK estimates that there is £56bn of social value that could be unlocked by the public sector annually – equivalent to double the UK Government’s current commitment to Net Zero. As the Government looks to level up the country, this new report identifies a major ‘quick win’ to use existing public sector spending to reduce inequalities and transition to a green economy. Alongside this, the report calls on the UK’s largest businesses to adopt a social value approach to working with the public sector. The report, published at the Social Value Leaders’ Summit in Birmingham on 18 May, outlines a new vision for procurement focused on: Systems-change: using procurement to create better and more sustainable businesses and markets in the UK.Transformative public services: focused on long-term prevention and innovation.Environmental sustainability: considering not just the social impact of how we spend money but also the environmental impact. Realising this vision for the UK will: Deliver levelling up faster through smarter use of public and private investment.Make British business stronger through promoting long term investment and sustainability.Create stronger communities through greater partnership between places, businesses and government.Help the UK take advantage of the growing market for environmentally sustainable products.Make the UK the world leader in measuring social and environmental impact generating billions in service exports. Download the full report Download the report summary

18 May

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SEUK statement on Big Society Capital’s response to the Commission on Social Investment

15 May 2022 Commenting on Big Society Capital’s response to the Commission on Social Investment, Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “Social enterprises will support Big Society Capital’s decision to cut its target rate of return, an issue which has been raised over many years as part of the reason that our cost of capital is expensive relative to other businesses. This is a positive step forward and a big win for the Commission on Social Investment. We hope the benefits from this change will be passed down to social enterprises in lower cost finance.” “We are disappointed, however, that Big Society Capital has chosen not to accept the Commission’s recommendation to put social enterprises at the heart of its mission. They are right to say that they only have limited funds to make a difference, but this is even more of a reason to target helping social enterprises to grow rather than spending their resources thinly.” “Ultimately, as the Commission said, we should trust social entrepreneurs. Growing social enterprise is the most effective way to tackle homelessness, climate change, health and wellbeing or any of the many issues that Britain faces.” “Social Enterprise UK also urges Big Society Capital to look again at providing investment into a black-led social investment intermediary and fund. It has taken a creative approach to financing developments in the social investment market in the past. Given the obvious discrimination against black-led social enterprises in the market, Big Society Capital must take responsibility. There is no legal restriction on Big Society Capital using grants or creating a blended funding package including grants, equity and debt. We must not allow squeamishness about grants to block efforts to advance social justice.” You can read Big Society Capitals response to the findings of the Commission on Social Investing in this piece featured in Pioneers Post.

15 May

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SEUK strengthens Board with five new appointments

12 May 2022 Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) has appointed five new Board members following a rigorous recruitment process. SEUK’s Chair Lord Victor Adebowale CBE commented: ‘SEUK’s new Board members will add complementary abilities and experience to an already strong Board and ensure we have the best possible mix of skills in our boardroom. ‘Social enterprise has significant potential to improve our society, but this potential is being held back by issues such as lack of access to social investment, at a time of greater demand for support from local communities. I look forward to working with the Board and the SEUK team to support, enable and champion the social enterprise sector, to unleash the potential for the fairer and more inclusive society that social enterprise can offer.’ The five new Board members will be formally appointed at the next SEUK Board meeting on 12 May 2022, and will join an experienced Board who have steered the organisation, and supported the social enterprise movement, through the pandemic. SEUK Chief Executive Peter Holbrook added: ‘We are delighted to have been able to appoint five such experienced and respected leaders, drawn from across the diverse and dynamic social enterprise community, to join the SEUK Board.   ‘I look forward to working with them to take SEUK’s ambitious strategy forward and support our members to flourish despite the profound economic and social shocks the UK is currently navigating, and the continuing climate emergency. The social enterprise sector is proving resilient so far but now more than ever we need to ensure social enterprise can power out of the pandemic period and play its part in building a fairer society in which everyone can thrive.’ The new board members are: Amy Denro – Multi award-winning social CEO and co-founder of groundbreaking social supermarket HISBE Food. Chris Luck CB, MBE – Senior leader, former Air Vice Marshall and now CEO of the Shaw Trust Group, the UK’s largest employment sector non-profit. Devi Clark – Experienced leader, strategist and coach and Managing Director of the influential Impact Hub King’s Cross (IHKX). Patricia Keiko Hamzahee – Former investment banker and co-founder and Director of the Black Funding Network and Extend Ventures. Advising and championing social enterprises’ access to funding. Sarah McIntosh Social purpose membership organisation expert and Executive Director of Membership and Delivery at Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

12 May

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Leading businesses and social enterprises join forces to accelerate social value delivery

8 March 2022 Leading businesses and social enterprises have announced a new programme of work to accelerate and expand the consideration of social value in public and private sector procurement. This programme has been announced on the 10th Anniversary of the passage of the Social Value Act, a world-leading law which requires public bodies to consider social and environmental impact when making procurement decisions. “Social Value 2032: Shaping the Future of Social Value” will be led by Professor Chris White, former Member of Parliament and author of the Social Value Act. The programme will be delivered by Social Enterprise UK supported by a coalition of companies at the forefront of the social value agenda including PwC, Siemens, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and Shaw Trust.Since 2010, the estimated value of annual spend where social value has been considered in the award of the contract, has increased from £25bn to £100bn. However, despite quadrupling the amount of spending which is influenced by social and environmental factors, this is still only a third of annual Public Sector procurement spend. The programme will consider how social value can be expanded to cover all public sector procurement and go beyond this, influencing the spending of the UK’s largest companies. If this was achieved, it would unlock billions of investment in new low carbon products; creating thousands of employment and training opportunities and see millions of pounds reinvested back into providing social, environmental and cultural infrastructure for communities. Social Value 2032 will provide a new vision for social value at the Social Value Leaders Summit on 18th May 2022, taking place this year in Birmingham. Later in the year, the programme will unveil a “Social Value Roadmap” on the changes needed to enable the 100% target to be hit in the public sector and largest private sector companies by 2032 in time for the Act’s 20th anniversary. Speaking about the launch of the programme, Professor Chris White, author of the Social Value Act and programme lead, said: “I am proud of the role that I played with Social Enterprise UK in getting the Social Value Act through Parliament and encouraging public bodies and businesses to think about the social and environmental impact of their spending. But a lot has changed in ten years, from Net Zero to the renewed focus on reducing inequality in our society. Social value needs to adapt and accelerate to meet those new challenges.” “The fact that we have a coalition of leading companies and social enterprises in social value gives me confidence that there is more that we can do to spread the influence of social value to ensure that every part of the public sector and our biggest businesses maximise the social and environmental impact of their spending.” “The UK has been a world leader on this agenda since we introduced the Act but we cannot rest on our laurels. I hope that working together with these leading businesses and social enterprises, we can show how social value can provide practical help in the race to Net Zero and to level up the country.”     Speaking on behalf of programme partner PwC, Nancy Park said: “Delivering Social Value is strongly aligned to our purpose here at PwC.  Our responsible business framework informs the decisions that we make, the engagements we accept and the advice we give to our clients. Increasingly our public and private sector clients want to find out how they can have greater positive social and environmental impact.” “We take social value into account in all our spend as well as in our recruitment and deployment and strategic decision making.  These are key ways that we can achieve positive social and environmental impact. We are delighted to be part of this programme of work and to be able to contribute our expertise to the future of social value.” Chris Luck CB MBE, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, a leading charity social enterprise and programme partner said: “Social value is at the heart of everything we do as a social-enterprise model charity, and we have been pioneers in utilizing social value since the Act was introduced ten years ago. Through our ‘charitable heart with a business brain’ approach, we have seen the benefits to our service-users and communities when social value is done well, but we need to do more to ensure that commissioning and procurement maximises the opportunities of social value. In particular, we need to ensure that social value supports the work of social enterprises, like ours, who work every penny to generate benefits for society.” “Accelerating and expanding the use of social value will create new challenges. For that reason, I believe it is important for Shaw Trust to be a partner and contribute our experience of using social value in practice to deliver high-quality public services.” John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, programme partner said: “At SUEZ we are clear that our activities must benefit more than the bottom line and social value forms a core part of our business strategy. In 2020 we created £1.98 billion in social value, up from £1.55 billion in 2019. This value is not just a number, it reflects the benefits from our work delivering essential services around the UK. Social value matters to people and communities and that’s why it matters to us.” “We’re passionate about sharing our experiences to support our customers and peers in using social value effectively, and we’re looking forward to learning from others about their work, to help us move forward on our social value journey.” Dietmar Harteveld, Head of Supply Chain Management, EMEA of Siemens, programme partner said: “Siemens is proud to be part of this programme and to support efforts to make business sustainable. We have put in place our DEGREE framework to decarbonize our business, ensure high standards of ethics and equity as well as improve our resource efficiency and the employability of our staff.” “Social value is an important tool in realizing our aspirations and we are proud to be part of this programme which will consider what more can be done to get business to contribute to making our society better and greener.” “Siemens has been at the forefront of improving our procurement to ‘Buy Social’ and develop new partnerships with social enterprises and SMEs to increase the social and environmental impact of our business. We look forward to working with our partners to expand the opportunities for social value in supply chains across the public and private sectors.”

08 Mar

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