Little at Large: The naked truth about plugging social enterprise

- Social enterprise can be a tricky concept to explain to the masses.

Some definitions stretch to three or four paragraphs and seem to take in most human activities apart from incest and morris dancing. But a new guide from the Office of the Third Sector on raising awareness of social enterprise is urging practitioners to get down to the bare essentials, possibly literally.

A section on "innovative programmes and activities to get attention" is illustrated by a photo of about 200 people staring at a glacier, completely starkers. Is the OFT suggesting a strip-fest to drum up interest in "businesses with a social purpose"? Will John Bird, his modesty preserved only by a copy of The Big Issue, really get the punters hooked?

- Stephen Bubb has apologised to the Shaw Trust after he wrongly claimed that staff at the charity had passed a vote of no confidence in the trust's director-general and trustees over the Ian Charlesworth affair. Interesting that the Acevo chief, generally an opponent of staff militancy in the sector, was happy to draw attention to such seditious activity, fictitious or not.

- Still on the Shaw Trust, the Department for Work and Pensions is practising the art of saying nothing. DWP contracts provide most of the trust's £70m income, but last month a spokeswoman said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on the dismissal of chief executive Ian Charlesworth, even though it led to questions from the Charity Commission.

Third Sector accordingly lodged a request under the Freedom of Information Act, but it seems they're determined to let nothing out. Departments have 28 days to respond to such requests, and on the 28th they asked for a minor clarification, thus earning themselves another 20 days. So that's how to spin things out ... - Mathew Little is a freelance writer mathew.little@haymarket.com.

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