The government has announced the creation of new unit at Department for Culture, Media and Sport to promote social investment.
The Inclusive Economy Unit, which has been launched today, will be staffed by members of the Office for Civil Society’s existing social investment and finance team, according to a government statement.
The unit will not take on any new policy roles within government, the statement said, but will build on the old team’s work by strengthening the social investment market and social impact bonds, expanding public service mutuals, and supporting mission-led business.
The DCMS statement said the unit would continue to support markets that delivered social impact as well as financial returns, improved the delivery of public services while increasing social impact and those that encouraged responsible business.
It will work in partnership with other government departments, civil society organisations and businesses and "will focus on expanding opportunities for those who are struggling to cope; harnessing the power of private investment and business for the advantage of everyone as well as improving delivery of public services", the statement said.
Andrew O’Brien, head of policy and engagement at the Charity Finance Group, said the new unit needed to be more than a name change.
"We’re supportive of the idea of creating a more inclusive economy, and it is positive that the government is looking at how it can grow the social economy through working with a range of partners," he said.
But he added: "It’s not about changing names, it's about how it impacts on policy – we’ve seen a lot of talk over the past few years and it’ll be interesting to see if this marks a new start, or a false start."
Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "A strong civil society works best when all parts of the economy and of society are being used to their full potential.
"This unit will bring together the expertise of the public, private and civil society sectors to achieve this and help us build an economy and a Britain that works for everyone, not just the privileged few."