Category Archives: Impact Investment

Civil Society Strategy 2018

Civil Society Strategy: building a future that works for everyone

‘This Strategy sets out how government will work with and for civil society in the long-term to create a country that works for everyone’.

Civil Society Strategy - cover image and download link
View, print or download the full strategy here…

The current Government published this strategy on the 9th August 2018. It is a large document, a big strategic picture is delivered, and there is little that can be critiqued in  mere observational mode.

The difference will be measured in the coming years of political turbulence, and how the new, adjusted and revitalised civil society arrangements in the document will have been implemented, or abandoned.

Below, we publish in full the section on The Social Sector. The full document is available above  to view, print or download (.pdf).

3. THE SOCIAL SECTOR: supporting charities and social enterprises

Published 9 August 2018

Introduction

Charities and social enterprises - ‘the social sector’ - are the core of civil society. A healthy, independent, and engaged civil society is a hallmark of a thriving democracy. A robust sector is a sign of a confident democracy, which offers many ways in which citizens’ views and concerns can be amplified. This country has a long tradition of philanthropic organisations, both small and large, set up independently of government to respond to the challenges of society. A poignant example is civil society’s role with regards to combating threats to democracy, ensuring that broad debate and political campaigning continue to thrive, online as well as offline. It is essential that these organisations can access the necessary support to adapt to meet the challenges of the future.

Throughout this Strategy there are proposals that will benefit social sector organisations. For instance, in Chapter 1 we talk about citizens, including young people, in supporting society. In Chapter 2 we describe place-based investment and empowerment. Chapter 4 describes a range of benefits that business, the finance sector and new technology can bring to civil society. In Chapter 5 we explain plans to reform commissioning in favour of charities and social enterprises.

There remains a range of issues concerning the role and management of social sector organisations themselves, which are dealt with in this chapter, namely the sector’s voice, its funding, its leadership, support, regulation, and its digital capability.

Significant steps are already being taken from within the social sector to address these issues. The government cannot and should not ‘lead’ or organise civil society. But the government has a clear role to play, including where only the government can act, or where government intervention has the potential to offer significant additional value.

In particular the government is keen to work alongside the social sector to realise a future in which organisations are able to adapt and thrive, strengthen public trust and find new ways to resource and deliver their missions. This includes all in the sector feeling that their voice is respected in policy debates, where there is strong support available and ongoing and effective investment in leadership and governance. Finally, the government wants charities and social enterprises to be able to employ strong digital skills to deliver social good.

Mission 6: the voice of civil society

The rules on campaigning

Civil society has a long and proud tradition of campaigning for change and providing voice for the disempowered and disadvantaged in society. Civil society organisations have successfully campaigned for changes in the law and national policy, and at local level supporting access to services and challenging public sector organisations to improve.

Charity law enables charities to undertake campaigning, including political activity, to support the delivery of their charitable purposes. Charity law prohibits charities from supporting a political party or candidate. It is also right that we have a longstanding framework under Electoral Law to provide transparency of third party campaigning in the period before an election. This is necessary to ensure that an election outcome cannot be unduly influenced through excessive spending.

Some civil society organisations believe that the space for campaigning and advocacy has closed in recent years, creating a ‘chilling effect’ on civil society campaigning and advocacy.1

Evidence from the engagement exercise is that the government should improve its engagement with civil society, consult charities, and community groups, consider what is said and be transparent about decision-making, include diverse civil society voices in policy development, and that beneficiaries especially young people should be engaged and involved in policy making in a meaningful way. One organisation of many stressed during the engagement exercise that charities “play a vital role in shining a light on key issues and the government should support and champion them in doing this”.

The government is ambitious to play a key role internationally in standing up for free speech and a vibrant civil society.

Hearing from civil society

The government is determined that charities and social enterprises should be fully confident in their right to speak in public debates, and to have a strong campaigning and advocacy role. It is right that we have government grant standards which prevent taxpayers’ money being spent on political campaigning or lobbying. However, simply being in receipt of taxpayers’ money should not inhibit charities from making their voices heard on matters of policy or practice.

The government is committed to embedding open policy making across departments - giving civil society significant opportunities to achieve policy change - and is currently developing a commitment to this as part of the UK’s next National Action Plan for Open Government.2

The government also recognises that there is a job to do to reach a collective approach across Whitehall in the way that we work with and for civil society. We are therefore keen to get our internal workings in order to ensure that we effectively join up at crucial stages of policy development to reflect the voice of the sector and to obtain valuable and early insight into how our policies are likely to impact communities and the sector. As mentioned in other chapters, strong partnership working with the sector is key to effectively deliver policies that tackle a number of issues faced by communities and to strengthen the resilience of the sector.

The government will renew its commitment to the principles of the Compact. The Compact is a document that sets out a series of principles and commitments governing the relationship between the social sector and the government. It was last published in 2010.3

The government will convene a cross-government group to work with civil society to establish the principles of effective engagement in the policy-making process, learning from the examples of good practice that already exist. This includes a focus on the effective engagement of young people (see ‘Young people and national policy design’.

The government will work with civil society, the Electoral Commission and the Charity Commission to explore what other non-legislative steps could strengthen civil society’s confidence in its campaigning and advocacy role.4 For example, the Electoral Commission has already started work on improving its third party campaigning guidance for civil society organisations.

Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability says:

Knowing the issues that affect the most vulnerable in our society is the first step towards finding solutions and bringing justice to a community. Charities and the social sector play a vital role in representing people who are unable to advocate for themselves to ensure that the right policies and programmes are in place to protect the most marginalised in our society.

Imagine living with an aggressive partner - coerced and violently attacked in your own home, sometimes for decades – and too scared to speak out for fear of retribution. Or being trafficked from another country and not being able to make or exercise any choices free from duress, pressure or undue influence in order to protect oneself from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The reality is that there are many people whose individual circumstances preclude them from being able to take part fully in important decisions or even discussions that they themselves are the subject of.

In my previous career as a criminal barrister I specialised in prosecuting serious organised crime so I saw how law abiding people could be exploited by criminal gangs. As Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, it is my responsibility to ensure the Home Office is taking the best possible action to protect the most vulnerable and prevent exploitation and criminality.

We frequently rely on the charity sector often working in partnership with the police to flag issues that we need to be aware of and we work in partnership with them to decide on the best options going forward. We are committed to introduce a landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to further transform the response to these heinous crimes. We have also recently published a Serious Violence Strategy which sets out the government’s response to serious violence and recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide. The strategy focuses on early intervention and prevention which can help catch young people before they go down the wrong path into situations where they are exploited frequently as drug runners and through threat and violence to prop up criminal networks.

Delivery of the Modern Slavery Act relies on our social sector partners working alongside charities to ensure that supply chains and other situations where bonded labour or other forms of exploitation may be involved are identified and dealt with. We work closely with a wide range of civil society organisations, including specialist victim support services, to support delivery of our work. Freeing the nation from the cruel acts of modern slavery and other forms of exploitation remains a priority for the Home Office and the UK government and it is only by working in partnership that we can achieve our aims.

Continue reading Civil Society Strategy 2018

£5.5m Northern Impact Fund launches for social enterprises

 

Imaginaitive with funding, secure in it’s mission for social enterprise – The Key Fund…

Key Fund, a long-standing investor in community and social enterprises, is delivering the Northern Impact Fund, aimed at new and early stage enterprises who are seeking finance to support growth.

Matt Smith, CEO of the Key Fund, said: “With this fund we’re offering finance of up to £150k, but typical investments will be around £50k, with up to 20% of the amount available as grant. The Key Fund was one of the early pioneers in this space, and our original model was based on a grant and loan mix, so we’re really excited to be going back to that original model. It’s long been our belief that grants can play a very important role in helping new and smaller social enterprise become more robust.”

Source: The Key Fund web site – thekeyfund.co.uk  Accessed 25.09.2016

A new blended grant and loan fund, the Key Fund package looks to secure sector deals in the £5,000 to £150,000 range. Applications are accepted from across the North and Midlands, with the Fund looking to realise 46 deals a year.

At a flat rate of 6.5% interest, the average loan term secured is expected to be three years.

Interested in business development on these terms, as a social/community enterprise.  See the links below…

Find a full copy/Press Release about the new fund here

Find a full grant/investment profile for the new Fund on-line here

Social Investment by Charities

 Making a social investment as a charity?

 

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (’the 2016 Act’) introduces a new statutory power for charities to make social investments. This came into force on 31 July 2016.

The Charity Commission have released yesterday interim guidance to charities to cover this new development in financial matters. The interim information is due for review in 2017, but the Commission are keen to underscore, for trustees, the power trustees now have to make ‘social investments’.

Below are some useful definitions and links to more information on this theme for those involved in charty governance and finance.

What is a ‘social investment’?

‘In the legislation, a ‘social investment’ means a ‘relevant act’ of a charity which is carried out ‘with a view to both directly furthering the charity’s purposes and achieving a financial return for the charity’.

A ‘relevant act’ means one of two things:

  • an application or use of funds or other property by the charity; or
  • taking on a commitment in relation to a liability of another person which puts the charity’s funds or other property at risk of being applied or used, such as a guarantee’

Source: Gov.uk Publications – Chariities and investment matters  See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charities-and-investment-matters-a-guide-for-trustees-cc14/charities-and-investment-matters-interim-guidance   Accessed 01.08.2016

What is not a social investment?

‘A financial investment is an investment made solely for the purpose of achieving a financial return for the charity.

A programme related investment (PRI) will not be a social investment unless the financial return to the charity forms part of the motivation for the charity making the decision to carry out the relevant act.’

The guidance issued goes on to review trustees’ general duties, the statutory restriction imbued by the 2016 Act, as well as the use of a charity’s permanent endowment processes.

In conclusion there is a succinct section of caution on the giving of ‘guarantees’. The guidance does recognise, however…

‘If a charity is asked to give a guarantee, the trustees will need to consider carefully whether they have the power to give it. The power to make social investments includes a power to give guarantees if they meet the definition.’

You can find the new Social Investment guidance on-line in full here.

Another section of the Commission web site offers the visitor downloadable documents and advice  – Charites and Investment Matters: a guide for trustees (CC14)

The documents are available in html or as pdf’s for review and download.

Cabinet Office – Social Investment Awards

 Investing in UK social business…

The Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards recognise the impact social investment is having on communities across the UK.

Now entering its second year, the awards highlight the innovation and dedication of world leading social investors and enterprises, celebrating both the achievements of teams and individuals alike.

The awards are supported by NatWest. In 1999 the bank set up its own charity, Social & Community Capital, to help fund social enterprises and community lenders that cannot access mainstream finance and to help them on their path to the financial mainstream.

The awards have six categories that applicants can enter, free of charge, by nominating their own businesses or social enterprises.

Institutional Social Investment Award
Institutional investment deal or product that has created demonstrable social impact at scale.
New Social Investors Award
Investment deal or product that has attracted new savers and investors into the social investment market.
Social Entrepreneurs Investment Award
Investment deal into an early stage social organisation to create demonstrable social impact.
International Social Investment Award
International investor who has invested through the UK market to create social impact anywhere in the world.
Market Building Award
Organisation that has demonstrated innovative and diverse ways to grow the social investment market in the UK.
Public Service Transformation Award
Social investment deal that has delivered improved public services.

Categories 1-3 and 5-6 are open to nominations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Category 4 is open to individuals or organisations based anywhere in the world.

The awards close to applications on 18 March 2016. Short-listed nominees will be notified on 1 April 2016 and the awards ceremony will be held in London on 3 May 2016.

For more information see the Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards website.

Clowne and District Community Transport (CDCT)

CDCT Logo4CDCT are a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. The organisation delivers accessible transport solutions  for individuals and groups who have difficulty in using public transport in the Bolsover District Council area, along with Bassetlaw, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Mansfield, Eckington and Killamarsh.

The Board of CDCT have decide to explore further developmental opportunities. Their focus is given below…

  • Develop a strategic alliance with another like minded charity, social enterprise or similar type community focused body
  • Explore a possible merger or other collaborative partnership working

CDCT Call for Engagement paper - pdf version...“In making this decision, the Board have commissioned Nottingham based SEEM to help facilitate this exploration and invite interested parties to submit an Expression of Interest. Please see below for further details on this process”.

With an uncertain future funding landscape, CDCT are looking to explore ways of working with other like-minded organisations, who, after the initial Expression of Interest, will be selected to develop more detailed proposals, within a framework of mutual discussion and exploration.

Icon for Adobe PDFYou can download the full CDCT proposal information here…

Timescales and next steps for the Expression of Interest process:

emailIconMiniTo request an EOI, please send an email to SEEM at info@seem.uk.net with the subject ‘Clowne and District Community Transport EOI’.

The Board of CDCT has asked that all EOI’s are returned back to SEEM at the same email address by 7th April 2015 at 5pm.

Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Please refer all queries regarding the process to SEEM not CDCT.

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

SEEM partners the Good Deals Social Investment conference

This was the GoodDeals conference in 2013.

Good Deals 2013 from Matter&Co on Vimeo.

Now for 2014…

SEEM (Supporting Social Business) will be in London for the UK’s biggest social investment conference at the end of November 2014 and as partners to this event we’ve secured a special discount rate for our members and readers of ‘MiningTheSEEM’

With less than four weeks to go to the Good Deal Conference taking place on the 24th and 25th of November, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s new in the world of Social Finance. Our partners Matter&Co are once again organising the UK’s biggest gathering of social entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, corporates and social investors.

Keynote speakers include Jacqueline Novogratz, Vince CableSafia Minney and Liam Black. For more information on programme and venue details please visit www.good-dealsuk.com.

As a partner to the event we are delighted to offer all of our members a  25% discount ticket to the conference using the promo code SEEM14.

We’re reliably informed that over half the tickets have already been sold, so if you can’t wait give a member of the Good Deals team a call 020 8533 8892.

We are really excited about this year’s event and we will be there in full force.

We hope to see you there too…

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

Are you getting enough finance?

d2n2logoButton
Business growth in our region…

Access to finance to support Growth

The Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East Midlands and South East Midlands are conducting a survey of businesses in our area to find out whether businesses are able to get access to finance to support their growth.

This could of course include social finance for all socially impacting businesses.

They would like to know about business’ experiences if they have sought funding recently or if they plan to seek funding for future investment projects. They would also like to know if they have any barriers to growth.

By completing the survey below, businesses will help the Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East Midlands and South East Midlands to decide how to use their funds to help small and medium-sized enterprises.

surveyMonkeyButton
Your say!

You can find the on-line survey here.

 

 

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

CleanTech Connections

 

 

We were pleased to cross the City and to be invited to the latest CleanTech Centre lunch event, on Thursday 21st October, 2014. A great opportunity to network and hear key speakers in an informal, professional setting.

Our Roger Moors was delivering the keynote presentation to the assembled guests and he was welcomed to the event by Bob Pynegar of Inntropy Limited, who owns the Centre.

Inntropy was set up in 2011 by Bob Pynegar and Nick Gostick. They saw that a building in West Nottingham had the potential to be an incubator for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs specialising in clean technologies. This building is now known as The Nottingham Clean Tech Centre (NCTC).

Bob wrapped his introduction to delegates with an illustration of how the CleanTech Centre offers its resident businesses a professional, supportive atmosphere to work in, with the advantage of having spaces available to meet client s and suppliers, as well as being able to take advantage of the Inntropy ‘entrepreneurship offer’ – mentoring, guidance , support and training.

Completing his delivery to the audience with a stress upon the growing importance of the Social Business sector, whether as a source of development funding, the melding of company philosophies with consumer expectations or the growth of the ‘triple bottom line’ business. ‘Social outcome will be even more important for the SME sector in the future...’ said Bob.

Roger Moors of SEEM then took centre stage. Roger began by offering the assembled business audience a range of definitions about the context of charities in business, social enterprises, and now with the emergence of the social finance sector, the ever growing importance of companies with distinct and clear social aims, yet who can still deliver external dividends as part of their enterprise processes.

Roger used a few simple diagrams to make his point. The ‘blended social business’, with solid social aims, clear business strategies and distinct profits would look something like this, he argued…

blendedbusinessgraphicAchieving the blended balance…

Roger emphasised the point that there were 90,000 Social Enterprises in the UK, with only some 10% actually delivering a sustainable business model that was not reliant on loans or charitable grants.

An opportunity for the social business, with strong profits, to deliver social outcome in a sustainable way.

This was not seen as a failure of the sector, but an opportunity for mainstream businesses to make bolder declarations of their social concern and delivery and use this effect to capitalise expansion, new products an services, the whole while supporting their communities of interest.

Roger then launched to the audience the new £1 million Nottingham Social Impact fund, which is designed to fit the investment profile outlined in the narrative above.

With loans available from£5,000 to £150,000, Roger saw the initial tranches of support in the £50,000 sector or below, with an ideal period of three years for repayment. The money will be put out at 6.5% interest.

The Fund is a collaborative effort between Nottingham City Council and The Key Fund.

Roger, in conclusion, stressed the importance of the Public Sector Social Value Act of January 2013. Committing all Local Authorities to take social impact into account when making strategic procurement decisions with their public money.

Roger receive applause from the audience and the thanks of Bob Pinegar for his clarity and conciseness.


I f you are interested as a start-up in the office provision and business support that the CleanTech Centre can offer, then please use the contact details below.

We know that you will be warmly welcomed.

Nick Gostick – nickgostick@inntropy.co.uk

Linda Slack – lindaslack@inntropy.co.uk

0115 822 1865

Inntropy Limited, Nottingham CleanTech Centre,
63-67 St Peter’s Street, Nottingham, UK, NG7 3EN


Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…