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The government has just launched a consultation exercise on the setting up of a new tax relief scheme for private investment in social enterprise. If adopted, the scheme would become operational from 2014. Further information here. The consultation document here.
The consultation is open until the 6th September 2013). Nominations to an official working group are also being sought by 20th June 2013.
Lots of social enterprises will consider speculative investment an almost complete irrelevance to what they do and how they operate. For many, what they do is so hard and so commercially challenging that no one in their right mind is ever going to consider them an investment opportunity. Others will object to the very principle of paying dividends to private investors.
These are perfectly valid views and ought to be part of this debate. However, the real significance of this tax relief proposal I believe is an almost accidental one: it could result in what eventually becomes the first legal definition of social enterprise.
Here’s why. The government recognises (p.12, 3.6) that in order to be a fair, the legislation must ensure that those receiving tax relief are investing in bona fide social enterprises. As no legal definition exists it therefore proposes that the tax relief legislation should define “social enterprise” by reference to three specific legal structures where business regulation already exists:
This could be a good thing, adding weight and public credibility to the social enterprise “model”and distinguishing it more clearly from other kinds of not-for-personal-profit organisations.
But should charities be included? (It would seem likely that even many charities won’t think they should be given disagreements in the charity sector regarding social enterprise — see this post). The consultation document raises very valid concerns regarding the advisability of including charities in the definition.
I think it would be better if the definition excluded charities.
This would encourage those charities with significant social enterprise activities (i.e. trading activities) to establish these separately (probably as Community Interest Company trading arms), thus making a much clearer distinction between their charitable and their trading activities. This would be helpful for the social enterprise sector, healthy for charities and clearer for the public. It would also address the concerns identified in the consultation paper.
Following this logic, charities would remain part of the wider social economy, but not all charities would be social enterprises. And those that are would have explicitly chosen a legally recognised structure for all or part of their business accordingly.
It seems win-win to me — at least until the legal specialists demolish this argument…
Local Partnership Development Manager
Salary: £35,000 – £40,000 p.a. pro rata plus pension
Location: London, Birmingham or Bradford Office
Terms: Part time 17.5 hours per week (flexible hours available). 1 year fixed term contract
The closing date for applications is: 10 am on Wednesday 19th June 2013.
Midland Heart is planning two exciting events that will showcase opportunities that the many agencies and organisations are providing in supporting the people of Birmingham in business start up and development and social enterprise.
The events will be held on:
These events will consist of an array of “market stalls” from a range of organisations offering advice, support and guidance for anyone wishing or considering business start up. The event will be marketed across the city.
We hope that the event will attract a good mixture of people from across the city, particularly those from disadvantaged neighbourhoods that need our assistance more than ever with opportunities for development and enterprise.
If you would like to attend and have a free stall at the event please download the confirmation slip and return it by Tuesday 5th June 2013 to Daynia Archer <Daynia[dot]Archer[at]midlandheart[dot]org[dot]uk> or send mail to Daynia.
Santander’s Social Enterprise Development Awards open on 3rd June with an increased number of prizes available this year for social enterprises seeking a financial boost to help them expand.
The scheme offers social enterprises the opportunity to win funding and business support to help them grow and increase their social impact. The Awards feature three prize funds — £50,000, £20,000 and £10,000, dependent on turnover — for organisations working to improve social inclusion, support employment or create a greener environment.
Following the success of last year’s programme the number of awards has been increased to enable a greater number of social enterprises to be supported in 2013.
The latest paper, produced by Tony Clabby of The Digbeth Trust is The Localism Act 2011: A guide for social enterprises and third sector organisations.
All of our policy briefings are here.
Jericho Foundation is hosting a free launch of Karamat Iqbal’s new book, Dear Birmingham.
Dear Birmingham explores the disadvantage of Birmingham’s Pakistani community and its exclusion from the centres of opportunity and power.
Birmingham has been a leader of cities since the days of the Lunar Men. Can it sustain its success without the active participation of its Pakistani community?
Please note places are limited and booking is required — send mail to Hazel Timmins.
The Digbeth, Highgate & Cheapside Social Enterprise Network is a dynamic collection of social entrepreneurs and community groups that works together to build the profile of Digbeth, Highgate & Cheapside, celebrate its diversity, improve the quality of life and address community needs.
It’s NOT a talking shop. We focus on collaborative DECISIONS and practical ACTIONS and we’re always happy to see new members.
If this sounds like you then make sure you’re at the next networking event on Tuesday 18th June 8.30am – 10.00am!
To attend, please send mail to Dawn Griffiths at iSE. See you there!
There’s an interesting piece over on the Civil Society website (thanks to Tony Clabby for this pointer)…. Interesting and frustrating, I should add.
Charities attending yesterday’s Charity Law Conference were told that calling yourself a social enterprise will help you win contracts and funding.
Really? There will be many in the social enterprise sector who will be surprised to hear this.
But joking aside, do read the piece — it is evidence of the profound confusion which still exists regarding social enterprise. Some of those quoted feel that social enterprise dilutes the charity ‘brand’; others that charities are old-fashioned and don’t understand the concept of earned or traded revenue.
Really, all of this somewhat misses the mark and one would have thought that attendees at a charity law conference might have been better informed and/or less prejudiced in their views..
West Midlands Police and local teams, such as, Dudley Police are backing a national campaign to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic hate crime and to encourage victims to seek help by speaking out.
In a film released today - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHoT) – a group of 36 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) police officers and police staff from 16 police forces across the UK tell their stories.
‘It Gets Better’ offers heartfelt messages of support and encouragement to young LGBT people who are struggling with their sexual identity or bullied for being “different.”
The officers tell their collective story about the challenge of growing up and living their lives as LGBT people.
In direct acknowledgment of the mental health implications hate crimes can have on victims, the officers stress that suicide is not the answer, suggesting people seek the help of trusted people around them if they are being bullied and to call the police if they are experiencing hate crime.
Matt Barlow, Team Leader from Summit House Support, a West Midlands based charity supporting LGBT Equality and Diversity, said:
“We sometimes hear about hate crimes in our local community and we know hate crime should not be tolerated – that’s why we have started working with the local police to develop a safe and supportive environment to allow easy reporting of hate crimes. Next week we hope to become a third party reporting centre for hate crime for people in our communities. With so many Pride events taking place across the West Midlands in the coming months we want to encourage everyone to report hate crimes and reduce the harassment and social isolation faced by the LGBT community.”
You can find out more about Homaphobic Hate Crime on the Dudley Local Policing Website here
Social Enterprise Mentor is hosting a special networking event for the launch of the Citizen Hub at the Custard Factory in Digbeth on 4th June 2013.
Yumm Cafe, The Custard Factory, Tuesday 4th June 3.00pm to 4.30pm
This free event is open to all with an interest or an involvement in social enterprise, a great place for social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, community projects, SMEs, funders and supports to share their stories, business practices and exchange ideas and expertise.
Social Enterprise Mentor networking returns to the Custard Factory in June for the launch of the Citizen Hub.
Social Enterprise Mentor is the Midlands leading networking event for those in, interested in or supporting social enterprise. Our networking events are informal and relaxed, making them an ideal event for everyone! No matter what you are looking for from a social enterprise networking event Social Enterprise Mentor can deliver you a great return on your investment – and since it’s free that’s just your time!
Citizen Hub, is a new exciting consortia that provides support and services in the areas of Health and Wellbeing, Criminal Justice Interventions, Personal Development and Business Development.
The fifth round of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme, a growth programme for small businesses and social enterprises in the West Midlands, is now open fort applications.
The deadline for applications is 28th June 2013.
Click the graphic to apply or for more information.
Click here for news of preview events about the programme.
There’s an interesting post over on the Gateway Family Services blog….
We wanted to share some of the work we have been doing with some really interesting partners. We are hoping this is the start of a really exciting collaboration led by Birmingham..
We have presented our work to the Department of Health Social Investment Business and they tell us that we are ‘leading the way’.
The way we work with our clients, the difficulties they face and the achievements they make are all captured using technology and then aligned to outcomes, which really demonstrate evidence and added value, as well as their own words, pictures and voices….
Are you worried about the implications the new Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 has for the social enterprise sector? Are you curious about how it will work in practice?
NEW! → Then download our new briefing paper, Social enterprise and the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012: A policy briefing for social enterprises and third sector organisations.
Based on months of working closely with Birmingham City Council, this paper is packed with insights about how social value is likely to be actually implemented. It moves the debate forward from abstract theorising about social value and looks at the Act from the perspective of practical implementation.
You can also find this paper on our Social enterprise & social value policy page (scroll down to bottom).
If anyone is still following the debate about Social Impact Bonds and especially the Peterborough CJS one, you may be surprised to see the coverage it and SIBs generally are getting in the US. (We’ve covered the Peterborough SIB here and SIBs generally here.)
I found this article (by Caroline Fiennes) on the Stanford Social Innovation blog fascinating.
It contains a link to a Ministry of Justice paper (May 2012) which explains the complexities and limits of the evaluation methodology developed for assessing the social impact of the Peterborough bond. Have a glance at it — it really does make rather terrifying reading.
You can understand why no one seems very interested in discussing the ‘transaction costs’ of the Peterborough bond and others. They must be astronomical.
And in the case of the Peterborough SIB, even the methodology that has been designed may — according to some — fail to determine whether the SIB has achieved its desired social outcomes… The Stanford blog quotes Professor Sheila Bird of Cambridge University and the UK Medical Research Council as saying, “[It] might well be a brilliant success; it might achieve little. But we aren’t going to know either way.”
It has just been announced by the Cabinet Office that the government’s ‘nudge unit’ — its behavioural insights team — is to be spun-out as a profit-making joint venture.
In a press release dated 1st May 2013 the Cabinet Office confirmed that it is launching a competition to find a commercial partner for the business.
The unit will be part-owned by the government, its employees, and a private sector investor/partner.
While this is the first policy unit to be spun-out, it isn’t in fact the first such “joint mutual venture”. That was MyCSP, the body that administers the civil service pension scheme and benevolent fund (see post).
35% of MyCSP is owned by the government, 40% by private sector partner/investor Equiniti, and 25% by its employees. It seems at least likely that the nudge unit spin-out will be a similar model.
Can we draw any lessons from this regarding the government’s wider “mutuals agenda”?
It almost certainly confirms a growing emphasis on “profit-making” rather than “mutual”. Indeed, in the case of the nudge unit the term “mutual” isn’t actually used at all.
As we said in a recent briefing on public service reform:
“It is important to emphasise that the Cabinet Office does not favour mutuals which are so-called ‘not for profit’ over those which are ‘for profit’. Indeed, it has been said that the government is ‘agnostic’ on this issue. [...] As a result of this, not all mutuals are social enterprises in the widely accepted sense of being not for personal profit.”
Update 03/05/13: Co-operatives UK’s Ed Mayo and SEUK’s Peter Holbrook have both issued statements saying that ventures in which employees own only 25% of the business cannot accurately be termed “mutually owned”. Read more here.
Update 07/05/13: Ed Mayo writes in a piece in the Guardian on Friday 3rd May:
“But the government’s entry definition of mutual ownership, with a paltry 25% for staff and no rights for service users, gives no guarantees of member control and leaves investors in charge. It is a start, but when public services have been sold in this way before, such as the bus firms in the 1980s, the assets moved as night follows day from being employee-owned into private hands.
We respect the right of government to try different models for public services. But with respect, we don’t want to be sheep’s clothing for someone else’s animal, whether predator or prey.”
We don’t often get news of social enterprises in Wolverhampton so I thought I would post this interesting story.
What do Flossie, Stoosh and Kathryn Kimbley all have in common?
Well, Flossie is a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel, Stoosh is a skunk, and Kathryn is the director of Wolverhampton-based social enterprise HumAnima CIC — a community interest company that provides ‘animal assisted therapy’ (AAT) to support counselling and mental health clients.
AAT includes such activities as Riding for the Disabled and Dolphin Assisted Therapy. The aim is to provide an opportunity for people to benefit from interaction with animals. A constantly growing body of research supports the benefits of AAT.
HumAnima runs Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling, the only course of its kind in the UK and Europe. The next course — expanded from an initial one-day programme to three — starts on Saturday 27th April and will teach participants to incorporate safe, beneficial and structured interactions with animals for the benefit of counselling and mental health clients.
Day 1 of the course is being run in collaboration with Critterish Allsorts, another West Midlands based company that works with more unusual therapy animals, including a Therapy Skunk called Skoosh.
The course was run twice successfully last year.
HumAnima CIC won Social Enterprise West Midlands’ Prima Award for Innovation in November 2012, the award sponsored by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Kathryn has recently become a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador having worked with the Prince’s Trust since HumAnima CIC was set up thanks to a loan from them. She has just been invited to deliver the course for a Care Farm in Dorset and as well as training all the staff HumAnima will also be involved in a bigger AAT project that the farm has just confirmed it has won funding for.
HumAnima is also working hard to be able to offer free counselling in the deprived areas of Wolverhampton through collaboration with the Local Authority.
→ Visit HumAnima CIC to find out more about Kathryn’s work.
→ Send mail.
→ Flossie’s Facebook page (no, I don’t know how she manages with typing either).
This just in from Gateway Family Services:
In response to mounting need for community language provision amongst our clients — and especially amongst new arrival communities — Gateway Family Services is planning to formalise and extend its existing interpretation services by offering a training course for interpreters.
Our first group of interpreters will start on Thursday 16th May 2013, but there are still some places available.
You don’t need any prior qualifications – just a willingness to learn! However, although English will probably be your second language, you need to be able to speak English well.
So if you speak French, Somali, Arabic, Bengali, Romanian, or any other language that is spoken in Birmingham, and think you could benefit from our scheme, get in touch.
At a meeting of its Cabinet Committee on the 22nd April 2013, Birmingham City Council made giant strides towards its implementation of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 when it approved three inter-linked policies aimed at maximising the social and local economic value it derives from its £1bn a year procurement spend.
Cabinet approved a Living Wage Policy, its new Birmingham Charter for Business Social Responsibility, and a Social Value Policy — this last largely unchanged from the document we helped draft for the local authority a couple of months ago.
We consider the Social Value Policy important not just because we had a hand in formulating the document but because it commits the council to implementing the new legislation more widely than the minimum requirements of the Act.
For instance, the Act only requires public bodies to apply the legislation to its procurement of services, but Birmingham City Council’s social value policy commits the council to applying the legislation across all of its procurement — both services and goods.
And rather than applying only to contracts above the EU threshold (currently £113,057 for central government and £173,934 for other public bodies), the council will apply the new social value legislation to all contract values.
This alone could mean that opportunities for those most able to deliver on social value are dramatically increased. We are
As part of our Barrow Cadbury-funded project we will very shortly complete a detailed social value briefing paper for social enterprises and third sector organisations.
The insights we are gaining from working closely with BCC on its implementation of the new social value legislation are proving invaluable and consequently this briefing will move the debate forward significantly — from theorising about social value, to real, concrete pointers about how it will be put into practice by England’s largest local authority. Watch this space.
→ Archived webcast of the Cabinet Committee discussion of these policies here (the discussion kicks in at about 49 mins 50).
→ Access all the relevant Cabinet papers on the Democracy in Birmingham pages of the BCC website. Go here and then run a search using the term ‘social value policy’.