Half of social enterprises yet to see social value act mentioned in public sector tenders, new survey reveals

The State of Social Enterprise Survey 2015 also analyses organisations' income sources, and the ethnicity and gender of board members

Social Enterprise UK
Social Enterprise UK

About half of social enterprises that are involved in contracting with the public sector say they are yet to see social value act measures in commissioning practices, according to a new report.

The State of Social Enterprise Survey 2015, published today by the umbrella body Social Enterprise UK, says that 67 per cent of social enterprises whose main source of income is the public sector know about the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, which requires people who commission or buy public services to take into account the wider economic, social or environmental benefits to their local area, not just the price.

But 49 per cent of the social enterprises working in that area said the provisions in the act were yet to be seen in tender documents.

"While 28 per cent have seen social value appearing in public sector tenders, there is clearly much more work to do for the aims and potential of the act to be realised more fully," the report says.

It says that 27 per cent of social enterprises have the public sector as their main source of income, while 59 per cent of all social enterprises do some business with the public sector.

The research, which is carried out every two years, is based on 1,159 telephone and online interviews with senior figures in social enterprises in the UK.

It found that 39 per cent thought that a lack of availability of funding or finance was a barrier to their sustainability. It also showed that 49 per cent of social enterprises were five years old or less, with 35 per cent three years old or less.

The report says that 73 per cent of social enterprises earn more than 75 per cent of their income from trade. It says 40 per cent of social enterprises are led by women, 31 per cent have directors from ethnic minorities and 40 per cent have directors with disabilities.

In her introduction to the report, Claire Dove, chair of SEUK, writes: "This 2015 survey is the most rigorous and comprehensive we have ever undertaken, and provides the most detailed snapshot of social enterprise at a hugely important time."

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