Ambassadors look for credit where credit’s due for social enterprise
Chair of the public sector taskforce, Peter Holbrook , sets out the challenge
As the expectation of spending cuts across the public sector becomes a rarely challenged reality, with the only questions asked being: When? And how much? It is hard not to focus on efficiency savings as the first and most urgent priority.
This is right of course. Public spending decisions have, first and foremost, to demonstrate that they are providing the core services at good value for money. Social enterprises are already competing and winning to provide services against major providers from the private sector. From social care and rehabilitation programmes to waste collection and transport provision, you will find social enterprises winning on cost to deliver high quality services.
In an environment where cuts have to be made however, it is easy to overlook the additional benefits and savings a more diverse group of providers generally, and social enterprise providers specifically, can bring.
Over and above the ability to deliver at a good price, social enterprises offer additional social and/or environmental benefits; a holistic approach which can help delivery of wider organisational targets. Unfortunately typical procurement specifications do not allow decision makers to take into consideration this wider benefit and, ultimately, extra value.
As social entrepreneurs that already provide services to the public sector, we believe that finding a simple way to “give credit” for these extras could drive up the standard of public service delivery across the board .