Social enterprises are central to the diversity of health and care provision in the UK. Collectively, they have a turnover of £1.5bn and employ around 100,000 staff. Around a third of all community health services are delivered by social enterprises and they play a significant role in the delivery of out of hours care and a host of other services and their leaders play a key role in system leadership across the country.

Many of the largest social enterprises originally ‘span out’ of the statutory NHS bodies – and staff and patients still recognise them now as fundamentally part of the NHS. Social enterprises reinvest their surpluses back into their services and into the communities they serve and the vast majority are rated good or outstanding by the CQC.

This guide, produced with the NHS Confederation is aimed at everyone working within the wider NHS and for people interested in the role social enterprises play in delivering better health and social care outcomes for the communities they serve.