The recent news that the public campaign against the transfer of Gloucestershire community care services into a new mutual has forced the PCT to postpone its plans reveals that there is a greater need than ever for effective promotion and explanation of the social enterprise idea.
Gloucestershire PCT’s plans to transfer 3,000 and £80m-worth of services into a new Community Interest Company have been halted following a judicial review prompted by local residents and campaigners.
Commenting on the decision, SE UK’s chief exec Peter Holbrook has said, “Opposition may arise if the local community isn’t consulted early enough or staff aren’t involved in the decision to create a social enterprise, but we believe there is also a much wider issue, that social enterprise is often misunderstood or poorly understood.”
This latter point is crucial but even this doesn’t quite get to the nub of the matter, I don’t think.
After all, we are all, in our own ways, involved in campaigning and advocating on behalf of social enterprise. But this may no longer be enough. As the case for — and against — social enterprise becomes more politicised (for this is precisely what is happening), then we too must become more confident and more adept at making not just the ethical and business case for social enterprise but the political case too.
This may mean that we have to get involved in a kind of broad ‘educational’ work that has so far been largely alien to the movement — working with trade unionists, for instance, and at the sharp end with public service workers…