Cabinet Office announces new review “to unlock potential of mission-led businesses”

The Cabinet Office has announced that later this year it will be issuing a call for evidence as part of a review of the “mission-led” business sector in the UK.

Mission-led businesses, the Cabinet Office says, use their business models to achieve both social and economic impact and have a clear mission to address critical social problems. Generally speaking, however, they do not register this mission in legal terms in the same way that charities and CICs do.

It is estimated that there are as many as 195,000 of these businesses in the UK, employing 1.6 million people. In 2012 these businesses were estimated to turn over £120 billion a year. They are adopting new solutions to longstanding social issues like aged care, dementia and unemployment.

The review will examine how this emerging sector can be supported to double in size over the next decade. The review will shortly issue a Call for Input and report by the end of 2016.

There’s no further information at the moment but you can keep an eye on announcements here.

The terms of reference for the view are here.

Access to employment: Greater Birmingham & Solihull ESIF project call is live

Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP has just announced that its project call for Access to Employment services in Greater Birmingham andSolihull is now live.

This priority axis aims to increase participation in the labour market and thereby improve social inclusion and mobility. Approximately £3,000,000 of funding is available. The outline application deadline is 31st July 2016 and projects must be completed no later than 31st December 2019.

Full details and how to apply on the website.

City Camp Birmingham — a festival of ideas and alternative futures


The Impact Hub is celebrating its first birthday and as part of this is hosting City Camp, an open festival bringing together pioneering ideas from across the world. The festival will run throughout the 31st May to the 18th June 2016.

City Camp will explore the theme of city futures — and the future of Birmingham — recognising that we all have a role to play in feeding into the city’s dialogue and unleashing positive solutions. This year’s event is a prototype for an annual festival of ideas.

You can join as a curator, host, participant, investor, community member or citizen to inspire, debate and explore.

More information here.

Create impact for your social enterprise through a summer placement student

UntitledThe University of Birmingham wants to develop and strengthen links with social enterprises in the West Midlands and would like to offer you the opportunity to gain additional support this summer (June-September) from a final-year student through a short-term placement (minimum 40 hours, can be longer).

The University works with organisations directly to offer bespoke placements based around your business needs. Its specialist Placements Team will help you identify suitable projects for final-year students and manage the initial stage of the recruitment process.

Download the flyer.

For more information send mail to Matt or Roshni at The Placements Team.

Cabinet Office publishes new social enterprise market trends report

SOCIAL_ENTERPRISE-_MARKET_TRENDS_2015_pdf__page_1_of_68_The Cabinet Office has just published Social Enterprise Market Trends 2014.

This report — the first revision since 2012 — uses data from the Dept for Business, Innovation & Skills small business survey. By applying social enterprise selection criteria to that data it enables the proportion of businesses operating as social enterprises to be identified. The performance of the sector across a wide range of other standard business measures can then also be assessed.

This latest report highlights some quite startling facts.

For example, the UK social enterprise population has increased by around 58,000 since 2012, and now stands at about 741,000 (15% of the SME business population).

Of the 741,000 UK social enterprises, 195,000 are employers with at least one employee, and the rest (546,000) non-employers. The social enterprise sector employed roughly 2.27 million people in 2014. Estimated social enterprise employment has increased by roughly 300,000 since 2012.

The use of  ‘industry-standard’ data from the BIS small business survey to further illumine social enterprise performance and trends is to be welcomed. It illustrates the increasing recognition that social enterprise has in the ‘mainstream’ economy.

Birmingham Changing Futures Together marketplace event


Birmingham Changing Futures Together is a £10m Big Lottery funded programme supporting people with multiple and complex needs. It is holding a marketplace event at which people can find out more about its No Wrong Door Network — providers who are pledged to working together ensure that service users can access a whole system of support through one referral.

Download the PDF flyer.

Send mail to confirm attendance.

New £1m ‘Recovery Central’ will make Birmingham the recovery capital of the UK


Passionate about recovery: Steve Dixon, CEO of Changes UK, the charity behind the new £1m recovery centre

Changes UK, a charity and community interest company founded less than ten years ago, is well on the way to realising its ambitious vision of making Birmingham the capital for recovery from addiction.

Changes UK has successfully developed and secured Public Health England funding for Recovery Central, a new £1m, 50,000 sq ft centre in Digbeth to help people recovering from drugs and alcohol addiction rebuild their lives.

It will be one of the largest venues of its kind ever built in the UK, offering a one-stop shop for the recovery community, including a new café/restaurant, the city’s first dry bar, business incubation space and a multi-purpose conference centre.

The centre will house three social enterprises started by people who have been supported by the charity, a gardening business, building company, a state-of-the-art recording studio and a recovery radio station, not to mention hosting the organisation’s 31-strong team. The revenue generated through the different activities will be channelled into the work of the charity, whose aim is to become fully self-financing while continuing to support more than 200 people every year to overcome their addictions.

“This is a massive milestone in our nine-year history and will help us deliver our sector-leading support to even more people,” says founder Steven Dixon, who overcame a 15-year addiction to alcohol and drugs to establish Changes UK.

“Our service works,” he says, “because it is led by people who have been in similar situations and come through them. We focus not just on tackling the problems, but also on giving individuals support and opportunities once they are in recovery.”

The vast majority of Changes UK clients (78%) stay clean and build new lives, an impressive success rate when set against the national average for such services of just 8%. “Success is all about connection, empowerment and raising aspirations by giving people access to training, volunteering and employment,” says Dixon.

Changes UK provides a detox service, residential and community based rehabilitation, supported and move on recovery housing and opportunities to gain qualifications or vital work experience. Service users at the beginning of their recovery journey are supported 24-hours a day by qualified staff and specially trained peer mentors, with the next step being to embark on the eight-week Recovery Academy.

The official opening of Recovery Central will take place on May 13th at 9.30am, with Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco at Public Health England giving a keynote address. This will be followed by a show of support from a number of celebrities, inspirational stories of recovery from Changes service users, followed by a guided tour of the building and the chance to meet founder Steve Dixon.

To attend send mail to the events team.

Follow on Twitter: @changes_charity

‘The freedom of freelancing, the muscle of mutuality’

The number of self-employed people in the UK has risen to nearly five million, the highest level since records began, their ranks being swelled by people trying to avoid unemployment, those who have been made redundant, and especially public sector workers — such as music teachers, educational support workers, and interpreters — whose services have been ‘externalised’.


Click for report

In fact, according to an Office for National Statistics report, the rise in total employment since the financial crisis of 2008 has been predominantly among the self-employed.

Men still dominate the self-employment sector, but currently women are entering self-employment faster than men. There has also been a boom in self-employment amongst the over-65s — their number has doubled in five years to reach over half a million.

Less positively, self-employed earnings have fallen by around 22% since 2008.

Against this backdrop, the need for new mutual support structures for the self-employed has assumed a new importance.

There was a very timely piece in The Guardian on just this issue a week or two back: Self-employed set up co-operatives to share costs and services.

The piece focuses primarily on the emergence of new co-operative and mutual structures designed to help self-employed traders work together more effectively by combining their services and sharing marketing and administration.

“Working alone can be aspirational,” says Not Alone, a new report co-written by Pat Conaty (who will be known to many of you) for Co-operatives UK, “but it can also be lonely and anxious. There is an extraordinary opportunity for new co-operative solutions….[that give] the freedom of freelancing with the muscle of mutuality.”

I think it’s great to see Co-operatives UK promoting co-operative ideas to a new and growing audience.

Youth Promise Plus information event announced

Birmingham City Council has just announced that there will be a Youth promise Plus information event at the Fusion Centre (South and City College Birmingham) on Thursday 28th April 2016, with two briefing sessions being held — one at 11.00am and one at 2.00pm.

Valued at £50.4m over three years, Youth Promise Plus will be the largest EU-funded youth employment programme ever to take place in Birmingham and Solihull. It is designed to provide a supported and integrated pathway to employment, education and training for over 16,000 young people.

This event is part of preparing to procure providers for the programme. It is anticipated that  around £23m-worth of newly designed activities will be commissioned.

Birmingham___Solihull_Youth_Promise_Plus_-_Information_EventInitial commissioning will cover:

» Engagement and intervention with young people (holistic and tailored personal support and in work support).

» Employment Development (Improving Employer Engagement and Support).

For more information and to book tickets to attend the information event go to Find It in Birmingham.

Ageing Better in Birmingham fund opens for applications


Ageing Better in Birmingham is the BVSC-led cross sector partnership which has been successful in securing an investment of £6m from the Big Lottery Fund to help reduce social isolation of older people.

It has just announced that its Ageing Better Fund is now officially open.

The fund is open to applications for up to £2,000 from Birmingham citizens of all ages seeking to develop activities, initiatives, events and services for the collective benefit of older people across the city.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in applying to do an activity, event or provide a service for isolated older adults over 50, please direct them to one of he Ageing Better Hubs.

The Ageing Better Hubs can be contacted as follows:

LGBT Hub — send mail.
Carers Hub — send mail.
Tyburn Hub — send mail.
City-wide Hub — send mail.

Download the PDF poster.

You can also send mail and feedback directly to the Ageing Better Fund or contact Elina Svantesson, the Network Development Worker at BVSC.

NHS outsourcing and mutuals in crisis?

An independent enquiry into the collapse of the largest single integrated health outsourcing contract so far let by the NHS has just been published.

The contract, worth £725m over five years, was intended to integrate community care for over 18 year olds, acute emergency care for the over 65s and older people’s mental health services.

It was let by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG after a procurement exercise costing an estimated £1m and won by a partnership of existing NHS providers called UnitingCare Partnership, comprising Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The contract collapsed in December 2015 after just eight months, with both sides claiming it was not economically viable. UnitingCare apparently required a further £34.3m in order to deliver the services covered by the contract, which was intended as a landmark both in service integration and outcomes-based commissioning.

It is reported in The Guardian that the contract attracted unanticipated VAT costs, possibly as a result of the UnitingCare Partnership changing its legal structure to a Limited Liability Partnership part-way through the tendering process. Monitor apparently had such grave concerns that it only signed off on the deal 24-hours before the service was due to go live. The senior GP at Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG has resigned citing personal reasons.

The National Health Executive says that the “major holes” in contract design, evaluation and risk assessment that were evident here are likely to “push NHS England to tighten scrutiny and assurance processes involved in large transactions, especially those with complicated underlying structures”.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has also published an internal audit report on the deal.

And it isn’t just NHS outsourcing that is in difficulties. It has also just been reported that SEQOL, the Swindon healthcare mutual established as a CIC in 2011 and a Cabinet Office “mutuals pathfinder” supported by the  John Lewis Partnership, will not have its £10.6m adult social care contract renewed. The service is to be brought back in-house which Swindon Council believes will save over £1m in management costs and overheads.

These two stories should be ringing very loud alarm bells.

John Taylor Hospice is recruiting

John Taylor Hospice is seeking to recruit a PR and Media Officer.

The company says:

JTH logo

As a member of our award-winning Brand and Media Team, you’ll be meeting and talking to people we care for, their families, our supporters and local businesses. You’ll be at the forefront of sharing their stories to promote all the work we do at the hospice.

You’ll be part of a dynamic and hard-working team who can turn their hand to any media task. We’ll offer you plenty of opportunities to learn and develop communication skills as well as gaining experience of an innovative community interest company.

Salary is £28,101.19, closing date for applications is Saturday 23 April and interviews will be held on Wednesday 4 May 2016.

Full job description and application form.

Santander launches £2.5m small grants programme

The Santander Foundation — Santander’s community grants and funding arm — has just been relaunched as The Discovery Foundation with a new £2.5m programme of small grants of up to £5,000 for charities, CICs, voluntary and community groups and social enterprises.

The grants are available in three categories:

1. Explorer — improving knowledge and insight

Examples could include Money Management workshops to help people understand how to budget and identify affordable credit choices. A Freedom Training course giving abused women knowledge of how to regain control over their lives.

2.  Transformer — developing skills and experience

Examples could include work-based training and mentors to help socially isolated people develop skills to get back into work. Sign language training for parents with hearing impaired children. Or teaching young people with autism vocational skills.

3.  Changemaker — innovative solutions to social challenges

Examples could include a new social networking program for visually impaired young people which uses specially developed braille laptops to access the internet. An inclusive cycling social enterprise which adapts bicycles to enable people with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors.

 More on the Santander website.

 Discovery Foundation.

 Third Sector online coverage.

Health — where’s the social value?

UPDATE 04/04/16: Further to the post below, we now have a survey online aimed specifically at health commissioners and practitioners. It only takes a few minutes to complete. If you are able to pass this link on to health colleagues that you know this would be much appreciated. Many thanks. (Documents summarising key findings of our research and which inform this survey can be downloaded here in a zip file.)


Recently, as part of continuing work funded by The Barrow Cadbury Trust, we have been looking specifically at how social value is being used in health — including surveying almost 50 social enterprises involved in tendering for health-related contracts.

Read on for more about what we found out.

1.  Social value in health – the current state of play

The health sector generally is lagging behind in its implementation of the social value legislation. Social value is not widely understood in health and some practitioners do not realise that the legislation applies to health bodies. Lord Young’s review of how the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 is being implemented reached a similar conclusion.

Health bodies that are making progress are starting to follow guidance from Public Health England which frames social value in the context of the Marmot Review and  recommends specific social value ‘activities’ in health commissioning that can help address health inequalities and the social determinants of health.

It is disappointing that this guidance is not being more widely used and that the health watchdog bodies, including Healthwatch, are not doing more to advocate its use.

And even where health bodies are making good progress on social value — and here are some examples — they seem more likely to do so if they have been able to access additional ‘project’ resources to help make this happen.

See our longer commentary on health and social value.

2.  What social enterprises and voluntary organisations involved in health commissioning are saying

We surveyed almost 50 social enterprises, over half of which had tendered for a health contract in the past twelve months. They reported that information about new tender opportunities and about what is to be commissioned is hard to find.

They also reported that commissioning specifications are frequently unclear about the additional social value commissioners want to achieve. In fact, only 4% said that in their experience contract specifications were “consistently clear” about social value. 50% said  they were “sometimes clear”, and 27% said they were “rarely clear”. 
This makes it extremely hard for those organisations who really can deliver on social value to do so in a meaningful way.

In addition, few invitations to tender specify how social value should be demonstrated or reported, and even where new methods for capturing social value are emerging — such as the PSIAMS personal outcomes software, now in use in Dudley, Wolverhampton and Birmingham — commissioners are not always aware of these and do not necessarily recognise the information they can furnish.

 Read the survey findings.

3.  Conclusions

The financial pressures facing the health sector are so great, and the new landscape of health so complex (as this brilliant King’s Fund animation shows), that social value is struggling to gain any traction at all.

There are huge opportunities for the health sector to work collaboratively to develop meaningful approaches to social value, but this is only happening in isolated instances — and even then, social value is likely to be treated as a “special project” rather than a core responsibility, as the legislation requires.

While social value cannot solve the current health crisis it does offer commissioners a means of extracting greater value from procurement — while simultaneously helping to address some of the other strategic aims that are right at the top of the policy agenda. The under-utilisation of social value in health represents a very real missed opportunity.

Click the graphic to watch The King's Fund's brilliant animation

Click the graphic to watch The King’s Fund’s brilliant animation

UPDATE 19/04/16: Today we gave a presentation based on this work at the City Drive marketplace event at the Muath Trust, Sparkbrook. If you missed it but want to view the presentation click here.

There is interesting discussion about the role of social value in health — picking up on our work — over on the Inside Outcomes website.

Ernst & Young to host Christmas trade fair to showcase women entrepreneurs

ernst_and_young_birmingham_-_Google_SearchAccountancy giant Ernst & Young has announced that its Birmingham Women’s Network will be holding a Christmas Fair at the company’s Birmingham headquarters at 1 Colmore Row on Friday 9th December 2016 and is looking for women entrepreneurs who want to showcase their goods and services.

EY says, “This is a great opportunity to showcase your wares and talents in a professional environment before our 700-strong staff.”

There is no cost involved and EY will provide exhibitors with tables. The trading time will be from 12.15 to 14.15, with set up from 10.45am.

Spaces are limited so please do contact Caroline Hornberger at EY early to avoid disappointment. Send mail to Caroline Hornberger.


St Paul’s Community Development Trust is recruiting

www_stpaulstrust_org_uk_assets_3024_Chief_Executive_Job_Description2016_pdfAnita Halliday, who has led St Paul’s Community Development Trust tirelessly for more years than most of us can even remember has announced that she will be standing down (not “retiring”!) as chief executive at the end of July 2016.

Consequently, St Paul’s has just commenced a recruitment exercise for a new CEO — one hesitates to use the term “to replace Anita”, because it is unlikely that anyone will ever truly do so. She has to be one of the hardest acts to follow in the whole of Birmingham’s voluntary sector.

St Paul’s Community Development Trust is a pioneering charity that works with the community of Balsall Heath, a diverse inner city area in Birmingham. With a turnover in excess of £2.5 million, 150 staff and 50 volunteers, it provides play, education, training, and leisure opportunities for all age groups. It has nurseries, a Children’s Centre, a small specialist school, an urban farm, after-school provision, theatre and other groups.

More details, including application process, JD and person spec here.

Profile of Dr Anita Halliday in the Birmingham Mail.


Raising the profile of social enterprise in Brum — City Drive is back for 2016


Following last year’s extremely successful week of City Drive events, promoting Brum as a city of social enterprise, iSE has just announced that City Drive is back again for 2016, with another week-long programme from 18th-22nd April.

The programme so far announced includes:

12.00pm: Launch ­online at www.i­
1.00pm-­4pm: Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter Walk from iSE

8.30-10.00am: Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter breakfast at iSE, Digbeth
5.00pm-7.00pm: ­ Soup making workshop “Supporting local homeless people” at Edible Eastside, Digbeth

11.00am-5.00pm: Open Day at Citizen Home, Jewellery Quarter + lunch
10.00am-12.00pm: Young People and Social Enterprise at Birmingham City University
2.00pm-4.00pm: Young People and Social Enterprise at Aston University

10.00am-1.30pm: The Open House ­ Women in Social Enterprise at Women’s Enterprise Hub
12.30pm-2.00pm: The Big Social Enterprise Lunch at Women’s Enterprise Hub
10.00am-1.30pm: Money, money, money – Access to finance for social enterprises [venue TBA]
2.00pm-4.00pm: Digbeth Social Enterprise Bike Ride “Discover the Philanthropists of Birmingham”
6.00pm-8.30pm: Dinner “How does the social economy respond to the challenges of healthcare in the 21st century? (Invitation only)

10.00am-11.30am: Meet North Birmingham Social Entrepreneurs at Hollyfields
11.30-2.30pm: Social Enterprise Marketplace at HSBC, Central Birmingham

TO BOOK PLACES — please send mail to Marija Sakalauskaite at iSE, or ring 0121 771 1411.

View the programme.     More news on iSE website.

Patients are the stars

John Taylor Hospice, the first social enterprise hospice in the UK, is launching a promotional campaign in which patients, carers and staff are the stars.

Under the slogan, “We believe end of life isn’t the end of living,” the hospice is using advertising on buses, bus shelters and taxis across Birmingham to raise awareness of hospice care.

The posters feature photos of day hospice visitors, their families and staff taking part in activities at John Taylor. “There’s something really special about seeing the people we care for so directly involved in sharing our story because we can have no better ambassadors than the people who have experienced our care,” says JTH’s Diane Parkes, who leads the hospice’s media team.

L-to-R: Complementary therapist Jo Dorling, Cat Mackrill and her partner Sue Sherriff

L-to-R: Complementary therapist Jo Dorling, Cat Mackrill and her partner Sue Sherriff

Cat Mackrell (pictured), one of the first patients to feature on the posters, says, “I could never say no to anything that helps to promote John Taylor Hospice – they’ve been brilliant to me and I’d shout it from the rooftops if I could get up there.”

If you see one of the adverts you can send a picture to your social media accounts and be entered for a prize draw — more information here.

The campaign follows on from the recent Love Your Local Hospice initiative, a collaboration of 16 hospices across the region which divided the cost of a television advert to promote hospice care.

Rewriting the rules of opera

Birmingham Opera Company, under artistic director, Graham Vick, was born of a passion and a belief that opera — often seen as elitist, costly and inaccessible — can be a community art that speaks directly to all kinds of people.

The company doesn’t have an “opera house”. Its performance spaces are conjured out of “repurposed” warehouses, abandoned buildings, even big tops. A brief period of illumination and then it moves on. Writing of  a past production, a reviewer for The Guardian said, “With any community opera the vital question is who is it for: those performing or those paying to watch? Where Vick is concerned, the resounding answer is both.”

1df873ea-fd6f-4e3b-be4d-18f1009f6f39And you can be part of BOC’s latest project — Dido ‘n’ Aeneas, a staging of Henry Purcell’s great opera.

Over-16s can register to be part of the free dress rehearsal event on Friday 18th March at 7.15pm, to be staged at a top secret secret location in Birmingham (B4 area). To register you just need to email your name and full postcode to the BOC box office team by 10th March. Send mail.

Dido ‘n’ Aeneas will then run for nine performances between from the 18th-23rd March. Booking here.

More about Dido ‘n’ Aeneas here.

The People’s Orchestra celebrates fourth birthday

The West Midlands’ only community orchestra, The People’s Orchestra, is celebrating its fourth birthday with a gala concert at West Bromwich Town Hall on the 16th April 2016, from 7pm.

For more information about The People’s Orchestra go here and to book for the concert go here.

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