Just around the corner is the second anniversary of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 – the groundbreaking piece of legislation that ensures public money is spent on organisations that create added environmental and social value. To mark the occasion, Social Enterprise UK and its partners are hosting the Social Value Summit on 3 February to look at the future of the act and explore how it can be rolled out effectively across the UK. The event will be streamed live online at www.socialvaluesummit.org.uk.
The general election is looming, and solutions to the problems the UK faces are emerging thick and fast from social enterprises in sectors such as community energy, social investment and co-operative housing, to name but a few. But they need the backing of our political parties. The Social Economy Alliance – the campaign group for social enterprises, cooperatives and social investors – is starting a grass-roots campaign calling on MPs and candidates to support the social economy movement and the vital work it does. For more details, visit www.socialeconomyalliance.org.uk.
One part of the social economy expected to get a boost in 2015 is community energy. The government has made £100,000 of funding available to help share information about community energy in the UK through, for example, establishing a national online portal or a telephone helpline. With the temperature dropping and energy bills rising, the need for communities to create affordable energy is likely to increase.
In a further sign of the global potential of social enterprise, Jamaica is holding its first ever Social Enterprise Summit. Government officials, entrepreneurs and social enterprise experts from around the world will convene to take a closer look at how social enterprise is helping tackling the country's social problems. The country's finest social enterprises will be on show, offering an insight into what they do, from providing food and drink to farming and creative services.
Sam Simmons is head of media and communications at Social Enterprise UK