The new civil society strategy, published today, will shape the policy direction of this Government. Our full response outlines where we see progress and where there’s further to go in helping social entrepreneurs to achieve lasting change. For those short on time to read the whole document, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of the points of note for social entrepreneurs.
1. Greater accounting of social value in government contracts and grants. DCMS will now account for social value when procuring major projects, and potentially when giving grants. Other government departments will follow in due course.
2. More local commissioning. Government will support the spread of Citizen Commissioners to enable local people to make commissioning decisions on behalf of their communities.
3. New funding to tackle financial exclusion. £55 million will be used to fund a new, independent organisation which will work with partners across the private and social sectors to improve financial resilience and grow alternatives to expensive credit. The Strategy also repeats its January announcement that £90 million will be allocated to fund collaborations between major employers and civil society organisations to help the most disadvantaged young people transition into work.
4. New models of community funding. Around £35 million will be devoted to fund and initiate new place-based investment programmes which are co-designed with communities to bring together social impact investment, philanthropic funding, crowdfunding, community shares and corporate investment. Government is also working to release a further £20 million over the next two years from inactive charitable trusts for community organisations. The Strategy also reiterates the Government’s pledge to design a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to follow any ending of local area EU funding post Brexit. And DCMS, through the Access Foundation, is committing £40 million to help charities and social enterprises to develop enterprise models which help increase their earned income and build resilience.
5. Greater Government support for responsible business. As part of this, Government will explore further supporting the development and expansion of Purposely, an online tool created by UnLtd for founders who are using or considering the company limited by shares legal structure who want to embed their purpose.
6. Greater voice for the social sector. Government will consult civil society stakeholders on potential action to strengthen social sector leadership, open up trusteeship to people from different backgrounds, and help young people to shape the future of our society. And a new forum for social enterprise offers potential opportunities for social entrepreneurs to advocate to Government.
7. Initiatives to strengthen the role of civil society in local decision-making structures. Initiatives include: (i) improved funding for and representation on Local Enterprise Partnerships, (ii) development of Local Industrial Strategies, and (iii) Social Investment Tax Relief in 2019, which could enable communities to take ownership of community assets.
But what’s missing? We have some thoughts, but we’re interested in yours. Join the twitter conversation to share your opinions.
I have been working for UnLtd since November 2016. As a Policy Officer I am working with the government and other decision makers to create a more enabling environment for social entrepreneurs to start up and thrive. Previously I gained experience in charity and social entrepreneurship consulting in Hungary. I have a BA in International Relations and a MSc in Management and have completed the Charityworks graduate scheme while working at London's Air Ambulance.
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