Brief social entrepreneurship thoughts on the Conservative manifesto

In the spirit of yesterday's brief look at the Labour manifesto, here's a look at the Conservatives' new document. Again, I'm not going to plough through all the detail that the Coalition has pulled out, or has already been discussed over several preceding weeks.

Much of the relevant stuff for social entrepreneurs was announced in the Big Society launch the previous week, with a Big Society Bank (also utilising money from unclaimed assets) providing finance to neighbourhood groups, social enterprises and charities; and also providing funding to intermediary bodies with a "track record of supporting and growing social enterprises". There's also the national citizens service, as well documented elsewhere, and the training up of independent community organisers to establish neighbourhood groups. It will be interesting to see where community organiser ends and early-stage social entrepreneur begins, I think…or when neighbourhood groups formalise their work and begin to trade or win contracts.

There is some interesting back to employment stuff, including a community learning fund to help people restart their careers, and "Work For Yourself" which gives access to mentoring + loans. Like Labour, employee-led and owned co-ops to deliver public services feature, as does the opportunity for parents to start new schools (still a very emerging space, this one). An intriguing one, and one that could be really interesting (given so many of the barriers are about culture, mindset and understanding) is recognising participation in social action in civil servants' appraisals.

Not much revelation then, but reading both these party documents, and acknowledging that government is only part of the social entrepreneurship world and space (and that there's much that needs detail and grounding), one has to stand back and recognise how much more recognition and understanding there is across the political spectrum of what this movement can contribute.

Share Button

Brief social entrepreneurship thoughts on the Labour manifesto

Labour's manifesto came out today, as you may have noticed from the ubiquitous blanket coverage everywhere. So I won't linger on the subject. Suffice to say that the Coalition have done a good job of pulling out all the relevant detail for social enterprise + social entrepreneurs in the document. So that we don't have to ;0)

I'm most happy to see the "Promote the creation of more social enterprise hubs in every community", which was one of the five big calls in our Social Entrepreneurs Manifesto (authored with, by and for social entrepreneurs and other support agencies). I would add that I think it is crucial that these hubs or community anchors have people development and support built into them: as we all know, the most important assets in a community are the human ones, and the most important resources are human too. It might also be interesting to think about where these might be situated: where are the social enterprise shared spaces in smaller towns, rural areas, or deprived boroughs? (there's a session coming up at Shine about exactly this)

Otherwise, much as expected: Social Investment Bank, Social Impact Bonds (both of which I think we'll see from the Conservatives also, though they may be called something slightly different), more right to request, more asset transfer, and so on. Good to see community shares and community land trusts in there as well, along with some useful financial exclusion stuff: often overlooked but potentially massively important initiatives. A disappointing lack of numbers though; the only things with a number next to it are the Future Jobs Fund (to be continued to support 200,000 jobs) and the Social Investment Bank (£75m): that's to be expected, I guess, as the reality and detail that flow from the language become apparent over the next five years of whichever government wins.

Share Button