Useful documents

The NHS Networks' Social Enterprise Network is a fantastic source of information and below is a selection of some of the resources they have pulled together:

Future Role of the Third Sector in Economic and Social Regeneration
HM Treasury / Cabinet Office – July 2007
The Government's final report of its review of the “third” sector sets out a strategy to work with “third” sector organisations over the next ten years to promote social and economic regeneration. The main aims outlined in the report are to help give “third” sector organisations a greater voice and to work with the sector to strengthen communities, transform public services, encourage social enterprise and support the conditions for the sector to thrive.

Health Care and the Third Sector
New Statesman / Pfizer – 16 July, 2007
Report of a Policy Forum round table debate on the role of the “third” sector in healthcare.

Hearts and Minds: Commissioning from the voluntary sector
Audit Commission – July 2007
This report sets out findings on: the extent and nature of the voluntary sector's delivery of public services; the locally perceived impact of government efforts to build capacity; the current state of commissioning; and procurement practice.

Social Enterprises and the NHS. Changing patterns of ownership and accountability
Unison / Centre for Policy and Public Health, Universityof Durham– July 2007
This report poses a number of key questions and signals the need to keep rapid developments in the NHS under close and constant scrutiny. It raises a concern that social enterprises may smooth the way for the greater private sector involvement in primary care – whether intentionally or otherwise.

Ten Steps to Starting a Social Enterprise in Health and Care
Mo Girach for NHS Networks – July 2007
A concise practical guide to the factors that should be considered when setting up a health and care-related social enterprise.

Unlocking Innovation. Why citizens hold the key to public service reform
Demos – July 2007
A collection of essays and analysis from a wide range of public sector experts and practitioners, including in health and care. These offer lessons on how public services can better engage their users based on examples of best practice in the public and private sectors.

Social Enterprise Unit, One Year On
Social Enterprise Unit, Department of Health – June 2007
An annual report on progress to date which also identifies priorities for the coming year. The SEU is interested to know what people think has been their most helpful achievement to date, and what they should focus on over the next twelve months. Please send comments to

Opening the Transfer Window
Department of Communities and Local Government, May 2007
The Government’s response to Making Assets Work, the report on community management and ownership of public assets by Barry Quirk. It contains a six-point action plan about transferring public assets to communities - from disused hospitals to community centres.

Growing Opportunity: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Insoluble Problems
SustainAbility, April 2007
With a particular emphasis on the healthcare and energy sectors, this report explores how business partnerships with social entrepreneurs offer benefits to both companies and communities.

Better Business – a strategy and action plan for social enterprise in Scotland
Communities Scotland, March 2007
This Strategy and action plan highlights the contribution that social enterprise in Scotland can contribute to economic growth and business development while at the same time meeting social objectives.

Healthy Business. A guide to social enterprise in health and social care
Social Enterprise Coalition in partnership with Hempson’s Solicitors, March 2007
This guide features in-depth case studies, and sets out key issues when commissioning from, or setting up, a social enterprise.

Our Health, Our Care, Our Say – One Year On: making it happen – the third sector
Department of Health – March 2007
This report details the points raised at an event hosted by the Department of Health. It includes points raised in the workshop session discussions and the final plenary session, and also gives a brief description of current and future departmental work in these areas.

Taking Care of Business (Word, 34KB)
Health Service Journal , 15 March, 2007
Article on support for social entrepreneurs, including an interview with Social Enterprise Network Coordinator Chris Dabbs.

Social Enterprise Futures
Smith Institute, March 2007
Publication examining how barriers to the growth and development of the social enterprise sector could be overcome. Includes a vision to improve the delivery of public services, and case studies of social enterprises in health and care.

Better Business
Scottish Executive, March 2007
The strategy and action plan for social enterprise in Scotland.

Welcoming Social Enterprise into Health and Social Care
Department of Health, 1 March, 2007
A resource pack for social enterprise providers about setting up or expanding in the health and social care arena. The pack is also useful to commissioners who want to contract with social enterprises.

Third Sector Market Mapping
IFF Research for the Department of Health, February 2007
This report examines the potential contribution that “third sector” organisations can make to the delivery of health and social care. The results will be used to inform implementation of the Third Sector Commissioning Taskforce’s conclusions and the application of its outputs.

Social Enterprise - is this your solution? 
NHS Networks, October 2006
The first national conference on social enterprise in health and care. Presentations and reports are available online, including the keynote speech by the Secretary of State for Health.

Social Enterprises: what are they?
Foundation Trust Network, October 2006
Introductory briefing on social enterprises, especially aimed at NHS foundation trusts.

Social Enterprise in Primary and Community Care
Patricia Hewitt for Social Enterprise Coalition, September 2006
In this pamphlet, the Secretary of State for Health outlines her vision of the role of social enterprise in the provision of health and social care services.

Social Enterprise briefing
Queen’s Nursing Institute, September 2006
A practical briefing on social enterprise in health and care, with particular reference to nursing.

No Excuses. Embrace Partnership Now. Step Towards Change!  
Third Sector Commissioning Task Force, Department of Health - July 2006
This report sets out practical tools for primary care trusts, advising them how to make the most of the "third" sector. It also advises the "third" sector how to bid more successfully for contracts, providing a proposed model contract for discussion.

Before Signing on the Dotted Line - all you need to know about procuring public sector contracts 
NCVO Sustainable Funding Project, with Futurebuilders England - June 2006
A practical guide to enable small and medium sized organisations to navigate the complex rules, procedures and practices that constitute the public sector procurement process.

Social Enterprise in Health and Social Care: Just What the Doctor Ordered? (Word, 74KB)
Social Enterprise London - 21 June, 2006
The report of a roundtable discussion by the London Social Economy Taskforce. This considered issues affecting social enterprises in health and social care, and the opportunities for them.

Improving Financial Relationships with the Third Sector: Guidance to Funders and Purchasers 
HM Treasury - May 2006
Guidance to help government departments, non-departmental public bodies and other funding bodies distributing public money to the "third" sector.

Prove and Improve 
New Economics Foundation - May 2006
The online version of Proving and Improving: a quality and impact toolkit for social enterprise. It provides social enterprise and other mission driven organisations with ways to prove and improve their quality and impact.

Social Enterprise Network survey 
Social Enterprise Network - May 2006
Report of a membership survey which found considerable activity supporting people with long-term conditions. Many enterprises are specifically for people who have had a raw deal in life. There are lots of ideas about where to get more information on social enterprise.

Social Enterprise Think Tank (PDF, 524KB)
The Centre for the Development of Healthcare Policy & Practice, University of Leeds - May 2006
The report of a Think Tank to identify and discuss the issues and questions of health and social enterprise professionals about social enterprise within the NHS.

Health and Social Care Policy Briefing (Word, 84KB)
Social Enterprise Coalition - April 2006
This briefing paper aims to outline the potential for social enterprise in the delivery of health and social care services. It also identifies barriers and issues that must be addressed to increase this role.

Nurse-Led Social Enterprise (Word, 97KB)
Royal College of Nursing - April 2006
This briefing paper explores nurse-led social enterprise, and was used to consult RCN members to assess levels of interest in social enterprise among nurses.

Routes to Enterprise for the third sector 
Social Enterprise magazine, in association with the Small Business Service and Acevo - April 2006
A study of the issues and opportunities for the third sector created by an entrepreneurial approach to delivering services.

Social Enterprise and Community-based Care. Is there a future for mutually-owned organisations in community and primary care?  
Richard Lewis, Peter Hunt and David Carson, King's Fund - April 2006
This paper considers how social enterprises, particularly those with a 'mutual' structure, might add value to the provision of primary and community care as well as practice-based commissioning. It sets out action that will need to be taken if this innovation is to be successfully implemented.

More for your Money. A guide to procuring from social enterprises for the NHS 
Social Enterprise Coalition and NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency - February 2006
This is a short guide to achieving better outcomes from NHS procurement and how social enterprises can help in achieving this. With case studies showing benefits to the NHS, the guide explains:

  • why you should consider buying goods and services from a social enterprise; and
  • what you can do to encourage social enterprises to successfully compete for contracts.

Our Health, Our Care, Our Say. A new direction for community services 
Department of Health - January 2006
This White Paper sets out a vision to provide people with good quality social care and NHS services in the communities where they live. NHS services are half way through a ten-year plan to become more responsive to individual needs and prevent ill-health by the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Social care services are also changing to give service users more independence, choice and control. The White Paper identifies specific opportunities described for social enterprises:

  • different approaches to well-being in communities
  • addressing inequalities in underserved areas
  • new services and better access to general practice, especially in poorly served areas
  • new providers of health and social care services
  • services for particular groups, or where expert knowledge is required in a specific field or locality.

Voice 06
Social Enterprise Coalition conference - 25 January, 2006
Speeches to delegates:

The Nuts and Bolts of Primary Care Provision 
NHS Alliance - 19 January, 2006
The first ever practical guide on how to become one of the new generation of NHS providers. It is written specially for NHS frontline clinicians and managers interested in new opportunities for alternative providers of primary and community care services.

Social Enterprise in Primary Care 
Social Enterprise Network - 24 November, 2005
A report of an event with the Department of Health, covering the prevalence of social enterprise is in delivering primary medical services, and what support social enterprises might need to deliver these services.

Social enterprise as a model for the delivery of health and social care 
Helen Dickinson and Judith Smith, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham - November 2005
A report of a seminar to explore the potential to develop social enterprises for the delivery of health and social care in Birmingham. There was clear enthusiasm for this, but also a number of themes to address for such organisations to be successful. A summary is also available.

More for your Money. A guide to procuring from social enterprises for local authorities
Social Enterprise Coalition and New Economics Foundation with the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government - July 2005
A short guide to achieving better outcomes from public sector procurement and how social enterprises can help in achieving this. The guide is primarily aimed at local authorities but the issues raised are relevant to any public body that purchases goods and services. The guide explains:

  • why you should consider buying goods and services from a social enterprise
  • what you can do to encourage social enterprises to successfully compete for contracts.

Working with the Third Sector
National Audit Office - June 2005
This study reviews the relationship between statutory agencies and the social economy on the provision of public services, including finance and procurement.

Defra and Social Enterprise  (PDF, 22KB)
Defra - March 2005
This position statement explores the increased contribution that social enterprises could make to delivering Defra's strategic objectives, and to consider what Defra can contribute to Government-wide activity to support the sustainable growth of the sector.

Procurement - the Social Enterprise Solution
Social Enterprise magazine - 2004
This study looks at how social enterprises can crack the lucrative public sector market, the business case for this, and the willingness of local government to work with social entrepreneurs.

Procurement - the Social Enterprise Solution
Social Enterprise magazine - 2003
An introduction for social entrepreneurs considering bidding to provide public sector contracts.

Public Procurement and Social Enterprises - 2003
This overview highlights emerging practice and provides a checklist for renewal practitioners and public authorities to improve the competitiveness of social enterprises and open up market opportunities, including action to influence interpretations of EC and national legislation.

Mutual Health Service
Ruth Lea and Ed Mayo, New Economics Foundation - November 2002
This report rejects the privatisation of essential health services, arguing that independent non-profit mutuals will be more efficient.

Social Enterprise. A strategy for success  (PDF, 388KB)
Department of Trade and Industry - July 2002
This was the first Government strategy for social enterprise. It sets out a three-year programme for how Government will work with key partners to promote and sustain social enterprise activity. It focuses on three outcomes to achieve this vision:

  • creation of an enabling environment for social enterprise
  • making social enterprises better businesses
  • establishing the value of social enterprise

Value Led, Market Driven. Social enterprise solutions to public policy goals
Andrea Westall, Institute for Public Policy Research - January 2001
The Government needs to find ways to deliver public interest goals and reconcile wealth creation with social justice and sustainability. Social enterprises can help achieve a variety of public interest goals, and are already providing some interesting innovations in this area. They may also alter mainstream business behaviour by demonstrating the viability of otherwise underserved markets.

Civic Entrepreneurship
Sue Goss and Charles Leadbeater, Demos - 1998
The public sector is under increasing pressure to deliver improved services, yet it is slow to learn the lessons of good practice and to take on new roles. These problems can be overcome by encouraging entrepreneurship in the public sector to develop innovative solutions to local problems.

Women have for centuries been recognized as talented listeners, nurturers, motivators, excellent communicators. These very qualities that we once were told were unbusinesslike are precisely the qualities that business needs most to tap human potential.

Mary Cunningham Agee

Business planing
Business support
Accessing funding
Innovation & creativity
Legal structures
Power networking
Sales and marketing
The start-up phase
Supporting yourself
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