The ‘Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill’ will be better if…it doesn’t mention social enterprise

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.


  1. Tony Clabby Reply

    Full page interview in today’s Guardian with the private member’s bill proposer Tory MP Chris White was obviously done prior to these proposed amendments.
    The article states ” White’s bill will force the government to draw up a national social enterprise strategy and requires councils to set out how they will promote engagement with local social enterprises”
    Not anymore I’m afraid – far too radical – and probably the reason for the introduction of the amendments at the last minute.
    In the article White is asked” Will it bring tangible benefits in terms of more public sector business for social enterprises? White is clear “I have to give you a straight yes to that” – and he could now add in a stage whisper – unless I give you a possible maybe or a definite no.

    • Simon Lee Reply

      Apparently the bill has today finished Committee Stage and the next stop is the Lords…

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