At least, so Nick Hurd the civil society minister seems to think. Tabling amendments to the Bill — which gets its second reading today — Hurd (or rather a Cabinet Office spokesperson) has argued that deleting the reference to social enterprise enables the Bill to focus exclusively on “pre-procurement and services”, whatever the hell that might mean.
Simon Teasdale at the Third Sector Research Centre at Birmingham University has said that “the proposed amendments move the Bill away from signposting a particular commitment to the role of voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises in the delivery of public services […] and toward a more laissez-faire approach favoured by market liberals within the coalition government”.
At the risk of mixing metaphors, I think we can all spot a watering-down when we wade through one…
Civil Society covers this story in some detail here.
I’m indebted to Tony Clabby at The Digbeth Trust for the pointer to this.
Update: Third Sector Online today (20/10/11) confirms that the Bill has passed through the Lords with Hurd’s amendments to remove social enterprise clauses (including the requirement for local authorities to develop strategies for supporting and encouraging social enterprise) removed.