Category Archives: Economic Thought

Social Insecurities and Resilience

View, print or download a pdf copy here...download link and cover image
View, print or download a pdf copy here…

Eurofound publications on the quality of life inside Europe, offer profound insights into the global ‘state of the nation’ on matters that affect the individual, society and economy.

Social Insecurities and  Resilience, the latest policy brief to be published, highlights how insecure even those perceived as comfortable and secure can be, across Europe.

Eurofound (2018), Social insecurities and resilience, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. (.pdf)

Authors: Hans Dubois and Tadas Leončikas

Whether being old and feeling exposed when out after dark, or in full employment but doubting that the employment will continue beyond six months hence, the report offers a defining argument for the deployment of economic and social initiatives that put people, their sense of well being and compassionate economic energy at the heart of government thinking.

It is interesting that even across international borders, within Europe, the similarities in unease and concerns are duplicated across communities, whatever their defining local language.

‘Most of the insecurities reviewed in this policy brief have an economic component but are influenced by other factors too. For instance, perceptions of housing insecurity are influenced by tenant protection law, perceptions of old-age income insecurity are influenced by long-term care provision, and perceptions of healthcare insecurity are influenced by the presence or absence of healthcare coverage’.

The significance of having a ‘secure’ life is widely recognised. The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us that everyone has the right to ‘security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his (or her) control’ (Article 25).

In the key findings of the report it is stressed that ‘…only 1% of the EU population enjoys the highest level of security in all five types of social insecurity studied in this brief: personal, housing, healthcare, employment and old-age income. If more types were added, there might be nobody in the EU who feels free of any form of social insecurity’.

The five key measures of insecurity that the report comparatively assesses are…

  • personal insecurity – of being personally unsafe (from crime, for instance)
  • housing insecurity – of losing one’s home
  • healthcare insecurity – of being unable to afford healthcare
  • employment insecurity (for those in employment) – of losing one’s job and
    being unable to find a new one
  • old-age income insecurity – of not having an adequate income in old age

In their policy summary the report authors point out that government and state actors in the provision of services ‘…should be careful not to underestimate how widespread feelings of social insecurity are, especially more moderate forms. These may be early indicators of problems, so preventative policy-making should try to detect better, more
muted levels, as well as higher levels of insecurity’.

This report attempts a broad assay of community feelings across Europe. No small scoping exercise in itself, but when executed as here, then it provides a wealth of evidence and support for the argument that the social enterprise model should become the defining economic and civitas service provision model.

We would argue!

Human capital estimates, UK: 2004 to 2017

The Office for National Statistics has just released updated estimates of the value of human capital. For ONS ‘… the stock of human capital accounts for what skills people have and how much they earn and what qualifications they have, as well as estimating how much longer they will continue to work’.

As such, ONS argues, the value of human capital is often higher in younger workers, which have more years in the labour market ahead of them.

We can look to the historical writings of Adam Smith for the source of the concept for Human Capital, but we owe the the modern Chicago School of economists for this contemporary application of the theory, we would argue.

Human Capital Data icon and web link
View data here

View, download or print the tables containing the ONS data for this report here.

(Spreadsheet in ODS format).

This modern theory was popularized by Gary Becker, an economist and Nobel Laureate from the University of ChicagoJacob Mincer, and Theodore Schultz. However, more recently the new concept of task-specific human capital was coined in 2004 by Robert Gibbon, an economist at MIT, and Michael Waldman, an economist at Cornell. The concept emphasises that in many cases, human capital is accumulated specific to the nature of the task (or, skills required for the task), and the human capital accumulated for the task are valuable to many firms requiring the transferable skills.

The new ONS report delineates the following key estimates…

  • In cash terms the stock of human capital in the UK grew 1.8%. However, once the effects of inflation were removed human capital actually fell by 0.8%. This was the first fall in human capital stocks since 2012, reflecting slower growth in earnings relative to inflation.
  • In 2017, the UK’s ‘real’ full human capital stock was £20.4 trillion, more than 10 times the size of UK GDP.
  • The estimates highlight that in 2004 the pay premium for obtaining a degree was 41% but by 2017 this had fallen to 24%.
  • The ONS analysis also shows that between 2011 to 2017 the average stock of individuals over 35 grew by 7.0%, while the stock of those between 16 and 35 only grew by 3.6%.

We recently published  The Size of the UK Social Enterprise in 2018 – if we believe, as we do,  that the social economy is now a significant influencer of UK trade and business development – then it is pertinent to note that the value of ‘real’ gross human capital is ten times more than GDP.

The social economy must, therefore be a contributor to this value.

Also of note, is the fact that in terms of human capital, according to ONS, … the average stock of individuals over 35 grew by 7.0%, while the stock of those between 16 and 35 only grew by 3.6% over the focus period.

Continue reading Human capital estimates, UK: 2004 to 2017

The size of UK Social Enterprise in 2018?

Hidden Revolution, social enterprise - cover image and web link

View, print or download this SocEnt UK report here…pdf

The answer?

  • 100,000 SocEnt businesses
  • 2 million employees
  • Generating £60 billion of UK GDP

Source: Hidden Revolution – Size and Scale and Social Enterprise in 2018

A report by Social Enterprise UK

Perhaps no more words are needed…well maybe not!

  • 12% of social enterprises are led by someone from the BAME community.
  • 50% of social enterprises have developed a new product or service in the last 12 months.

Taking our sector mainstream?

We are mainstream!

 

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

UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – nominees list

The nominations list for the 2018 UK Social Enterprise Awards have just been published.

SEUK - button image and web link
Discover more of SEUK here…

What a cavalcade of fantastic projects, across many impact themes, and a wide geographical spread. The list itself is evidence alone of a thriving, multi-dimensional social enterprise topography in the UK.

Read more about the awards at SEUK here.

Can you see a social enterprise or community change organisation in your area?

Category 1 – UK Social Enterprise of the Year (Sponsored by NatWest)

Auticon

Cafe Direct

Change Please

Point and Sandwick Power/Trust

School Space

Big Lemon

Hertfordshire Independent Living

Wildhearts Group

Allied Health Professionals Suffolk

Category 2 – One to Watch (Sponsored by GLL)

Revival Whitstable – Mind In Bexley Ltd

The Bread And Butter Thing

Minds Ahead

Hey Girls

FamilyCarersNet

The Integrate Agency CIC

Category 3 – Prove It: Social Impact (Sponsored by Employers for Childcare)

Company Shop

Recycling lives

Sharp Futures

Winter comfort for the homeless

Ealing Community Transport (ECT Charity)

Category 4 – ’Buy Social’ – Market Builder (Sponsored by PwC)

Amey

Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC

London Borough Of Tower Hamlets

The University Of Northampton

Category 5 – Social Investment Deal of the Year (Sponsored by Big Society Capital)

Resonance

Social And Sustainable Capital

Clearlyso

Business Enterprise Fund

SharpFutures

Category 6 – Health & Social Care Social Enterprise

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service

East Coast Community Healthcare

Designs in Mind

Baby Lifeline Training

Smile Together Dental CIC

Category 7 – Consumer Facing Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Co-op Group)

Birdsong

Cafédirect

Clarity Employment For Blind People

Fair For You Enterprise Cic

From Babies With Love

Juta Shoes

Madlug Cic

Miss Macaroon

Stand4 Socks

Toast Ale

Category 8 – Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise

Alive And Kicking

Enabling Enterprise

The Growth Company

The Hoxby Collective

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) International

SharpFutures

Category 9 – Environmental Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Landmarc)

Camara Education

Energise Barnsley

Low Carbon Hub

The Skill Mill

The Bread And Butter Thing

Stand4 Socks

Category 10 – Tech for Good: Technology Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Linklaters)

Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) CIC

Harley Therapy Ltd

Integrated Care 24

Meetwo Education Ltd

NOW Group

Viarama CIC

Category 11 – Women in Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Santander)

Sue Black

Tracey Bush

Rosie Ginday

Elaine Lilley

Marie Marin

Rose Marley

Amma Mensah

Liz Tapner

Category 12 – International Impact (Sponsored by British Council)

Cafe Direct

Skillmill

Camara Education

From Babies With Love

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) International

Category 13 – Transformative Community Business

BH Live

Choice Housing Ireland

Coast And Vale Community Action

Company Shop

The Exchange Creative Community Cic

Made In Hackney

Category 14 – Employee Engagement

CDS CIC

East Coast Community Healthcare

Halo Leisure

Care Plus Groupk in the judging and award making process!

EBP

Congratulations to everyone, organisation and individual, on the nominations list. We wish you all the very best of luck in the judging and award making process.

Starting your social enterprise?

Social Enterprise UK, with the support of generous sponsorship by NatWest Bank, have just published their ‘Start Your Social Enterprise’ booklet.

This is a great primer on social enterprise, clearly laid out and packed with information for those of you about to start your SocEnt journey.

Start Your Social Enterprise cover image and web link
See more here – pdf

You can view, print or download a copy of this publication here (pdf).

The chapters include sections on Mission, Market and Money, as well as Marketing and Branding and the all important Business Plan.

There is also a very clear grid format page which illustrates the choices of good governance you can pursue, in order to control and support your Social Enterprise ambitions as a community.

We particularly liked the SEUK section on Looking After Yourself.

It is easy, in the whirl of excitement and drive to make things happen to forget about individual well-being in pursuit of the goal. We have repeated the sensible advice below…

”Pay yourself properly – as soon as is practically possible, pay
yourself properly; some social entrepreneurs pay other people
first in the organisation, but everyone needs to live…

Find a mentor – a mentor is someone independent outside your organisation
to talk to who can provide advice and support to you; organisations like
UnLtd and the School for Social Entrepreneurs will often link you to mentors
as part of their support, but you may be able to identify your own…

Be part of networks – there are lots of local, regional and national groups and
networks for social enterprises, from national bodies like Social Enterprise UK
to the Social Enterprise Places across the country to local and regional networks
like SELNET in Lancashire or SEEE in the East of England; they will often run
events, send newsletters with information, and provide connections to others. (…and SocEntEastMids too…Ed).

Don’t neglect family and friends – take time out, spend time with
the people you like and love, and you will be better refreshed, more
focused and more productive when you return to the enterprise…

Keep learning – this is a fast-moving world, and there are new developments,
opportunities and information to find out about; events and newsletters can
help with this, as can podcasts or books on business and social enterprise…”

Source: Social Enterprise UK, Start your social enterprise, p.13   Accessed 02.08.2017

A useful addition to your armoury when building your community business to effect change.

We recommend it as a great starting point for changing the world, or even a bit of it in the immediate vicinity at first!


If the SocEntEastMids team can help you reflect on your start- up plans, you can contact us here. You can find our enterprise and support philosophy here.

Taking a new view

Digging a hiole - image
Getting the right direction of travel first really helps!

Sometimes, in a committee room or at your office desk, starting a new community enterprise – or entertaining the very thought – can be a bit like the image above.

SocEntEastMids logo and web link - About us.Here at SocEntEastMIds we are trying to build a new starting point. A resource for information about social enterprise, news and stories from successes, and those that didn’t go well. To promote understanding and to get easy access to a community project road map.

First principles are important and you can find a good read about building social businesses on our Good Reads page here. We will be expanding our library of good reads in the future. (It’s been our road-map for a long time now too…Ed.)

Having a chat about your idea is also important too. Not all project ideas grow, but those that do invariably begin by talking to experienced practitioners, even informally. You get an idea about a business landscape before you enter it. SocEntEastMIds is happy to have a conversation – contact us here.

Social Enterprise in the UK - British Council - cover image and web link
View, print or download your book here – pdf

The British Council have published a great resource, Social Enterprise in the UK, a sort of ‘SocEnt primer’ and an illustrated overview of the social business sector. One of the best we know.

It covers everything you might need to know about social enterprise and community business – from governance to diversity, from incubation to consortia.

You can download your free copy here. It’s a big book, packed with information and structural insight.

 

If we can help pick a chapter and we’ll come and talk to you about it.  Contact us here.

If you need it, pick a chapter, and we’ll create a one hour workshop and come and deliver it to you.  Contact us here.

We are particularly keen to hear from community groups, faith groups, childcare and education settings of all kinds who are beginning to wrangle with ‘sustainability’.

No charge and, as our Partnership Australian colleagues say, ‘no worries’. You can find out more SocEntEastMids on our About Us page here.


Think Enterprise!

A new magazine, Think Enterprise, from the IOEE.

‘The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs has been over 15 years in the making and exists to make sure that all those involved in enterprise are able to access the support they need, when they need it’.

Whether your interest lies in tracking SFEDI Centres of Excellence or in developing apprenticeships and wider learning in business, then Think Enterprise has something of interest for you.

Be sure to check out pages 16 & 17, with their 2016 Enterprise Awards almost upon us, if only to read of the developmental success of others can in itself an inspiring and confidence building thing as you grow your own business, whatever sector you are in.

You can find the IOEE on-line here.