Social value will be part of 7th May 2015 election manifestos for all parties, says Hazel Blears MP


AnswerTime® — a new WebTV format developed by InformationDaily.TV — invited Hazel Blears MP, Professor Olinga Ta’eed, Jenni Inglis, Phil Loach, Guy Battle and an audience of experts to discuss delivery and measurement of Social Value.

Tony Clabby and I from BSSEC, Melanie Mills from SEWM and about twenty-five other invited guests were in the audience for this — the first of a series of panel discussions on key policy issues being filmed for webcast by Boilerhouse Media.

 Watch the video.

Hazel Blears MP (Labour, Salford and Eccles) was one of the architects of the Social Value Act, alongside the promoter of the original Private Member’s Bill, Chris White MP (Conservative, Warwick & Leamington) and she is now part of the cross-party team  reviewing the implementation the new law, under the chairmanship of Lord Young.

“Social value is a win-win for everyone” said Blears in an upbeat assessment of the law. “It has massive potential to ensure that better value-for-money services are provided to improve life for our communities and to boost responsible local firms, social enterprises and charities by helping them to secure work and enhance their reputation.”

Audience views were in some cases more sceptical. Many speakers highlighted the problems that trying to evidence and measure social value poses.

Phil Loach, the chief fire officer for the West Midlands, highlighted public spending cuts (5:30). Prevention work and risk management have reduced incidents requiring fire service call-out in the WM by around 40%. But rather than being rewarded for this, “the government thinks we therefore need 40% fewer firefighters,” he explained. At one point — footage that didn’t make the final cut — he went on to make the point that the fire service knows it “does” social value, but struggles to articulate it.

That will be a view that resonates with many.

Guy Battle noted that many public authorities — and private businesses wanting to do public sector business too — are desperate for guidance.

Hazel Blears agreed strongly, saying that she hoped the present review process would result inn some light-touch practical guidance — something government has so far help off from issuing.

She reinforced this point saying that the aim now was to ensure that social value featured in all the 2015 general election manifestos. “Some people don’t believe that political manifestos are important, but I know they are,” she said. “I want to see half a page on social value, social enterprise and social investment in each of the manifestos — because when a new government comes in, the civil servants look at the manifestos and say, ‘This is the programme we’ve got to deliver in the next five years.'”

At the very least, events like this help stimulate debate — but in this case, it could also inform the current review process, and that’s a good thing.

Full disclosure: my own contribution ended up on the cutting room floor. That’s the nature of TV, but one can’t help but take it personally…

A big thank you to all the people at Boilerhouse Media who made this happen.

Watch the video.

New Ideas on Social Value – Confirmed Speakers



New Ideas on Social Value is just a month away and will showcase great examples of social impact and social value and highlight examples of best practice. The event features a range of speakers that have expertise in outcomes based commissioning, social impact measurement or co-production.

New Ideas on Social Value, provides an insight into this challenging area and will be of interest to commissioners in the public sector, local authority directorates and leaders in voluntary and social enterprise sectors.

Confirmed Speakers:

Paul Maubach, Cheif Accountable Officer for Dudley CCG, with be talking about new approaches that Dudley CCG have taken to work with and build the capacity of the VCSE Sector in Dudley.

Mark Ellerby, Director of Cloudberry, will demonstrating PSIAMS, a new impact  and Outcomes measurement CRM system that measures Social Value, Social Impact and Social Capital.

Charlotte Pace, Trainer and Facilitator for IVAR, will be highlighting local, regional and national initiates and schemes in the VCSE sector that are impacting on social value.

Sarah Crawlley, CEO of i-SE, will be be presenting about DESQ (Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter) and  the advantages of placed based social value.

To join the event please register here. Please note – VCSE Sector places are now full, but you can add yourself to the waiting list. A limited number of Commissioner, Funders and Stakeholder places are still available.


NIOSV - Supportes


Social enterprise walk — 26th Nov

Join iSE for the latest social enterprise walk – visit Digbeth social enterprises and find out first hand what makes them tick. Sensible shoes a must! Contact Marija at iSE on 0121 771 1411 to book or send her mail.

Birmingham City Council — social value and market-shaping conference

Birmingham City Council is holding a ‘market-shaping’ conference for suppliers and those wishing to be suppliers of services commissioned by the Directorate for People.

Social Value — Partners in Communities: Birmingham City Council Commissioning Conference takes place at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Wednesday 12th November from 09.00am-4.45pm.

It is free and you can book here.

BCC says of the event:

This conference event will give providers an opportunity to learn more about the Social Value agenda and the benefits to the organisation.

The day will provide a mix of key note speeches (from both a political and operational perspective) and workshops, with a focus on Social Value and how the Council and service providers can work together to meet this agenda.

In line with the Council’s commitment to a mixed social care market, we warmly welcome service providers from across the 3rd Sector, not-for-profit, public and private sectors. Providers regardless of where they operate within the social care system, including universal and preventative, enabling, assessing and planning services as well as that delivering direct care provision are all very welcome.

New Ideas on Social Value – 12th December 2014


New Ideas on Social Value will showcase great examples of social impact and social value using local, regional and national initiatives to highlight best practice. The event will focus on outcomes based commissioning, social impact measurement and co-production.

New Ideas on Social Value, provides an insight into this challenging area and will be of interest to commissioners in the public sector, local authority directorates and leaders in voluntary and social enterprise sectors.

To join the event please register here.

This event is supported by

NIOSV - Supportes


Our Community CIC seeks voluntary advisors/non-exec directors

Advisor / Non-Exec Director Opportunities (unremunerated)

Our Community CIC is seeking volunteer advisors/non-exec directors (unpaid) to assist the social enterprise in three key areas of ‘expert support’:

  • Social Enterprise / SME Experience – to inform and guide its social enterprise ambitions, help refine and strengthen plans, provide practical expertise and
  • Finance / Admin ( esp. Social Return On Investment experience) – to help strengthen internal capacity and understanding, support future grant
    applications, contract bids and long term sustainability.
  • HR / Personnel Experience – help strengthen internal capacity and understanding, including recruitment, support and retention.


Interested? Please contact Basharat Dad CEO (0121 773 0749 / 0788 669 4544) or send mail.

More information — read the PDF.

Sustainable charities — free Birmingham seminar

Click to register at Eventbrite


Sponsored by Burton Sweet Chartered Accountants, the Sustainable Charities seminar will take place from 8.45am to 2pm on the 13th November 2014 at BVSC in Birmingham. Lunch will be included at 1pm.

The seminar includes talks from specialist advisors from Burton Sweet, as well guest speakers Richard Lowe, Managing Director of HR & Training Solutions Ltd, and Matt Daniels, Managing Director of Midan Ltd.

Recent Charity Commission research reveals worrying risks for the long term survival of some charities. This event will help participants maximise the impact of  scarce resources and adapt effectively to change.

This event will give you useful guidance, tips and advice to become a sustainable charity in today’s economy.


Opportunity to tender — Birmingham Changing Futures Together

BVSC is looking to appoint a single organisation to conduct a baseline study relating to a workstream within the Birmingham: Changing Futures Together Project.

This tender relates to the No Wrong Door Network, a network which will consist of a minimum of 15 agencies that will develop a shared approach to supporting people with multiple needs.

BVSC requires a consultant(s) to set out the current situation – a Birmingham baseline – with reference to the aims of the No Wrong Door Network and its development.

More information.

 You must register and express your interest on BVSC’s Supplier e-Tendering Portal to become involved in this tender exercise.

Once you have expressed your interest, you will be able to view the available tender documents.

The deadline for receipt of tenders is midday on 27 October 2014.

BVSC personnel should not be contacted directly — all communication concerning this procurement should be via the messaging service on the tendering website.

£7.6m, five years, help for 1000 unemployed young people — that’s Talent Match

The latest successful BIG Lottery-funded project  for Birmingham & Solihull is about to launch.

Talent Match Birmingham & Solihull, a pre-employment programme for 18-24 year olds, is officially launching with a week-long “roadshow” starting on 13 October 2014.

The MOVE truck will be pitching up at a variety of local hubs to meet local young adults who want to get into work.

If your organisation supports 18-24 year olds who have been out of work for 12 months or longer send them along to meet the Talent Match team at one of the stopping points during the week.

Likewise if you are a support worker or involved in an employment support programme for young adults, talk to the team to find out you can work collaboratively with the project.

Download the promotional pack with suggested tweets, press articles and links to website information.

The Lord Mayor is scheduled to visit the MOVE truck when it visits Centenary Square at 1.45pm on Tuesday 14 October.

Send mail for more information,  or call 0121 643 4343 (8) or tweet @talentmatch_

The roadshow schedule is:

  • Monday 13 October, 11am – 2pm: Price’s Square, Northfield
  • Tuesday 14 October, 10.30am – 4pm: Centenary Square, Birmingham
  • Wednesday 15 October, 10am – 4pm: Mell Square, Solihull
  • Thursday 16 October, 10am – 12pm: One Stop Shopping Centre, Perry Barr
  • Thursday 16 October, 1pm – 3pm: The Lighthouse, Lozells and East Handsworth
  • Thursday 16 October, 4pm – 6pm: Conker Island, Kingstanding
  • Friday 17 October, 10am – 12pm: Shard End Library
  • Friday 17 October, 1pm – 3pm: Cascades Shopping Centre, Stechford
  • Friday 17 October, 4pm – 6pm: Small Heath Asda
  • Saturday 18 October, 11am – 2pm: Cathedral Square, Birmingham
    Saturday 18 October, 3pm – 6pm: Star City, Aston

More on Talent Match employer engagement

More about Talent Match meetings and the partnership

View Talent Match promotional poster

Charitable Trusts West Midlands — consultancy opportunity


Charitable Trusts West Midlands, the membership association for trusts and foundations operating in the West Midlands, is seeking an appropriately skilled provider to undertake a marketing and communications review for the group, including marketing the network, improvement and development of copy, and marketing templates for communicating to existing membership and recruiting new members.

Read the brief here.

Download the brief and some associated papers in a zip file here.


Trading on the internet — workshop

Trading on the Internet, will be held on the 30th October from 9.30 – 12.30pm and will delivered by Nate and Martin from Citizen Click.  For bookings please contact Marija on 0121 771 1411 or send her mail.

Over 19 and unemployed? Want to boost your employability?

iSE has begun  a new programme to help unemployed over-19s gain skills and experience by volunteering in social enterprises. See the flyer below.

If you are interested please send mail to Emma Nugent or call 0121 771 1411 or simply pop in and see the folks at 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, Birmingham B12 0HJ.

Poster for individuals-page-001

Government to review social value Act

Third Sector online has just announced that the government is planning a review of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 to see whether it might be extended — for example, to cover the public purchase of goods, rather than only services, as the Act currently stipulates.

The Cabinet Office working group will be led by Lord Young, the PM’s adviser on enterprise, and will include Chris White MP, who introduced the original Private Member’s Bill which led to the Act, Hazel Blears MP, and Michael O’Toole, the first and now outgoing crown representative for the Voluntary Sector.

The review will invite comments and submissions and report in 2015.

Interestingly, amongst those quoted by Third Sector, Neil Cleeveley, acting CEO of NAVCA, says, “We want the social value act extended to cover all contracts, something they have already managed in Birmingham.”

This is perfectly true but probably still not widely known. As well as being amongst the first to adopt an explicit social value policy, Birmingham City Council also committed itself to applying the social value legislation as widely as possible — to goods as well as services, and to all contract values, not just those above the EU thresholds.

I believe that the work currently being undertaken by the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance — which we reported on in this report (p.5) — may be connected with the government’s review.

Interesting times. Watch this space.

Read more materials about social value

Birmingham City Council and social value

→ Useful resources

→  Social value — one year on

Key findings from two years’ work

→ All blog post tagged ‘social value’

BSSEC Annual Report 2014 published

We have just published our second Annual Report. Now that we have two Annual Reports available we have started a new page on the website to archive them.

The trading and social policy climate for social enterprises continues to be exceptionally difficult and as in preceding years we have made great efforts to focus our efforts on strategic activity that can help create a more favourable environment for social enterprises. We would like to give you some examples of how we have done this.

Please read our latest (Sept 2014) Annual Report to find out more about BSSEC’s recent work.

iSE offers Meaningful Marketing master class

iSE is offering a Meaningful Marketing master class — please see flyer below.

Please note that eligibility criteria apply. For more information and bookings send mail to Marija Sakalauskaite.

New report explores viability of a single integrated approach to social value measurement in Birmingham


Click for report


The Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance at Northampton University has just reported on work it and a number of academic partners have been doing in Birmingham to design a software-based solution that would help the council fully implement social value and especially its ambitious Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility.

The report makes the business case for a sort of social value Hub for Birmingham funded via a 2% levy on BCC contract values. If implemented the Hub would institute a cloud-based software solution for social value measurement, contract performance/compliance, reporting, tenders assessment etc. (See especially chapters 9, 10, 13, 15 and 18-23.)  You can read the report here.

Is the core idea proposed in the report the right, best or only approach? Frankly, we don’t know. But it is a basis for informed and provocative debate  to which many individuals and organisations from a range of disciplines and interests could make a valuable contribution. And we would certainly welcome such a debate/roundtable if others are interested.

Many will also be interested in an early preview of the UK Social Value Portal CCEG is developing.

* * * *

UPDATE 17/09/14: Professor Olinga Ta’eed, Director, Centre for Citizenship Enterprise and Governance, adds this note of clarification:

The report entitled “Social Value in Birmingham” is a redacted independent report commissioned for Birmingham City Council by a multi-disciplinary team led by the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance. The views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of BCC who remain committed to maximising social value across the city through their ground breaking Birmingham Charter for Social Responsibility. At this stage the report is only being used as a starting point for discussion on how we help BCC deliver their social value policy agenda and does not commit the council to any particular course of action. This is not only a local but a national, and international, agenda and BCC, as well as CCEG, will feed back when we have arrived at a consensus and a direction how best to take it forward.

These materials are made available at the invitation of CCEG.

Voting for social enterprise rep to the Greater Birmingham & Solihull European Structural & Investment Funds Committee

Please note that in order to vote you should be from an organisation based in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP area, as seen above


Voting for social enterprise rep to the Greater Birmingham & Solihull European Structural & Investment Funds Committee

Please note that in order to vote you should be from an organisation based in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP area, as seen above.

Further to this post, three nominations were received for the position of social enterprise representative and we need to proceed to a ballot. The three nominees are:

  • Tony Clabby, The Digbeth Trust
  • Jonathan Harris, The Enterprise Foundation
  • Melanie Mills, Social Enterprise West Midlands


Sarah Crawley, iSE, has withdrawn her nomination.

You have one vote. The candidate scoring the highest number of votes will be Lead Rep. The second highest will be Substitute. The nominee polling the lowest vote is eliminated.

Please cast your anonymous vote here  until midnight on Wed 17th September 2014.

The Nominees’ Statements are included on the voting website.

Good luck to the nominees.

Nominations for social enterprise rep to the Greater Birmingham & Solihull European Structural & Investment Funds Committee

Please note that in order to nominate you should be from an organisation based in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP area, as seen above

This,  just in from The Digbeth Trust, which has offered to co-ordinate the nominations process…

Nominations for social enterprise rep to the Greater Birmingham & Solihull European Structural & Investment Funds Committee

The government has outlined new plans for how Local Enterprise Partnerships must set up sub-committees responsible for the management of EU funds. The voluntary sector and social enterprises are to have two places on this sub-committee — one for the VCS and one for the social enterprise sector.

Please note that colleagues are undertaking a separate exercise for the VCS rep. This post concerns only the social enterprise representative. If you are able to alert other known social enterprise contacts, networks or umbrella groups elsewhere in the GBSLEP area please do so. Thank you.

Please see the  invitation from Andy Street, chair of Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP). We have to submit a nomination and named substitutes by noon next Thursday 18th September 2014.

Earlier today (11/09/14) the GBSLEP Third Sector/Social Enterprise Sub Group meeting agreed a way to respond to this opportunity – given the time constraints.

Tony Clabby, CEO of The Digbeth Trust and Sarah Crawley, CEO of Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs (i-SE) have offered to act as the main representative and substitute respectively but they are not precious about this and will support anyone who feels they are better placed to act in this capacity.

If you wish to be considered, please send a very brief synopsis listing your skills, experience and ability to connect with the sector. Please respond by sending mail to info<at>digbethtrust<dot>org<dot>uk by Monday 15th September. The sub group will then select the best candidates.

If you are happy with Tony & Sarah acting as the sectors representatives then your endorsement would be appreciated. Silence is taken to mean consent.

Many thanks in advance for your co-operation in what I fully appreciate is not an ideal process but is the best we could do within the time constraints.

Bibsy Bananas is latest in surge of social enterprises to take up loan finance

Bibs Berry of social enterprise nursery Bibsy Bananas

Bibs Berry of social enterprise nursery Bibsy Bananas

ART (Aston Reinvestment Trust), a social enterprise itself, has been lending to social enterprises since it started in 1997.  In recent years, perhaps not surprisingly in view of the challenging economic environment and huge public sector spending cuts, very few have come forward looking for loans.  2014, however, has seen an upsurge in enquiries and loans agreed.  It seems that social enterprises working in a variety of sectors now have the confidence to invest in growth and the future.  One of latest is Bibsy Bananas, set up in 2012 by the inspiring young entrepreneur Bibs Berry.

Bibs says she began working with children when she was just 11 – and always knew what she wanted to do.  By the age of 14 she had her first business plan.  Aged 16 she began gaining qualifications in childcare and youth work.  And at 23 her dream of running her own nursery, youth facility, after school and holiday clubs had come true.  Bibsy Bananas, with the obviously true strapline ‘where fun is at the core of learning’, was established in Castle Vale, Birmingham in 2012 and moved to Bromford in 2013.

Bibs approached us looking for a loan to help her renovate two properties in Bromford, which needed to be made fit to accommodate a nursery and a ‘youth den’.  Her application was approved and she subsequently had this to say:  “The ART team made the lending process understandable.  There was no jargon.  What’s more, Graham has been out to see us a few times since we’ve had the loan and taken a real interest in how we are getting on.  There is a relationship there now.”

Typically of a social enterprise, it was not just the money that made the renovation possible.  It was also the contribution of staff, their partners and families, parents and the local community.  Bibs says: “Everyone pulled together to do the painting, cleaning and as many of the other necessary jobs as possible.  It was fantastic.”

The nursery can now take up to 50 children and the premises for older children can take up to 90, although Bibs prefers to keep it at 60.  A visit shows just how much the children enjoy being in the stimulating environment, using the facilities and making new friends.  The staff team of 16 is clearly well trained, dedicated, and able to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

Looking to the future, Bibs is full of ideas for expansion and extension of Bibsy Bananas’ services.  “We work quickly and are growing rapidly,” she says.  “ART enabled us to keep up the pace.  Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

We hope that others will be inspired by Bibs’ story to come forward an approach ART for a loan.  Loan finance for social enterprises does have its advantages:


  • It can support cashflow whilst you are waiting for payments that only come at the end of a project
  • It can be used to pay for people or equipment that enable to you generate income that exceeds the cost of the loan in the long term
  • It comes without the onerous paperwork and reporting required with some grant funding, so if you are using it to generate income it can be a less time-consuming, more straightforward, transaction
  • It can be used to invest in building work or equipment that saves energy or streamlines processes, enabling the organisation to save money in the long term which more than covers the cost of the loan
  • If you have a good idea for generating income, it can help you set up and start earning money quickly


To find out more visit our website or call us on 0121 359 2444.

Ticket offer for META-Health Conference, 12th-14th September, Solihull

META-Health Conference 2014

There’s still time to book a one, two or three day ticket to the 6th International META-Health Conference, which opens in Solihull on Friday 12th September.  And if you book online using the codes below you’ll get a discount.

If you’re interested in health and wellbeing, either personally or professionally, don’t miss this opportunity to hear and question the world’s leading thinkers, practitioners and trainers in META-Health – an integrated bio-psycho-social approach to understanding the triggers of many common conditions, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, obesity and high blood pressure.

The conference programme is designed to take you on a journey, considering a new paradigm in health care and how to build a bridge between existing approaches and an integrative approach, which supports the mind in healing the body.

1 day ticket = £157
1 day – 88581 (save £11)

2 day ticket = £297
2 day – 88581 (save £21)

3 day ticket = £397
3 day – 88581 (save £30)