Social Enterprise UK, which represents over 100,000 social enterprises, welcomed the NHS’s new Long Term Plan which calls on the NHS to continue to work with social enterprises who are leading innovators in community health care.

Health and social care social enterprises turnover £1.5bn a year and employ over 100,000 according to the latest statistics. In total around 1/3 of all community health services are delivered by social enterprises.

The Long Term Plan’s announcement of a ringfenced local fund worth £4.5bn a year by 2023/24 will ensure that these vital services are able to grow and support the NHS’s target to save 500,000 lives through prevention over the next ten years.

The Long Term Plan also references two social enterprises which are innovating in their community – Bevan Healthcare CIC and Community Catalysts CIC. Bevan Healthcare CIC has achieved transformative health improvements through its work with homeless people in Bradford and Leeds. Community Catalysts CIC is helping people with long term health and care needs create their own micro-services improving the lives of people through more bespoke care.

The Long Term Plan also encouraged the NHS to see itself as an “anchor institution” which needs to spend its £114bn budget on working with local suppliers to improve communities. Social Enterprise UK has long called for expansion of social value in health care, most recently through its report “Healthy Commissioning”.

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK said:

 “The recognition of social enterprises as driving innovation in health care and the extra funding for community health services in the Long Term Plan is very welcome. Over 1/3 of all community health services are delivered by social enterprises and supporting their growth will be critical if the NHS wants to hit its target of saving 500,000 through prevention.”

“I hope that this clear message that the NHS must work with social enterprises will be taken on board by commissioners across the health service.”

“Although the focus today is on the NHS, if we truly want to create a healthier society we need to look at how our whole economy works. Business needs to be reformed so that rather than contributing to ill health, we support social enterprises that are providing better pay and conditions so that they can lead healthier lives.”

“Only this approach will ease the long term pressures on the NHS.”


  • Social Enterprise UK is the largest network of certified social enterprises in the UK and the leading global authority on social enterprises. Together with our members we are the voice for the sector. We raise awareness through our advocacy and campaigns and build the evidence base for social enterprises through our research. We have led public policy for 15 years, helping pass the Social Value Act, and are a strategic partner to government. We exist to increase the profile of the sector and build the markets for our members – working with some of the UK’s biggest companies to support them to bring social enterprises into their supply chains. Our members reflect the diversity of the sector ranging from local grass-roots organisations to multi-million-pound businesses. We see social enterprise as the future of business.
  • Social enterprises are business which trade for a social purpose that reinvest or donate over half their profits to further this social or environmental mission. There are 100,000 social enterprises contributing £60bn to the UK economy and employing nearly 2 million Research carried out by Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for the sector, shows they are outperforming traditional businesses when it comes to start-up rates, turnover growth and innovation. They are also ahead of the pack when it comes to workforce diversity and pay. For more information and statistics see Social Enterprise UK’s Hidden Revolution report –
  • Please contact Andrew O’Brien, Director of External Affairs, for more information (Andrew.o’ or 07889129971)