Senscot, the Scottish support network for social entrepreneurs, has accused governments on both sides of the border of not involving enough practising social enterprises in policy making.
The umbrella body said that at a recent summit hosted by four Whitehall Government ministers, the majority of attendees were heads of umbrella bodies and civil servants.
"It's a worrying feature of any social movement when 75 per cent of the people shaping policy are not operating at the front line," said Aidan Pia, chief executive of Senscot.
"There is a tendency in Government not to engage with the folk at the coal face, especially people involved in grassroots organisations.
"Intermediary organisations present an easy option, because they are in constant contact with government. But we would like the government to engage with operating social enterprises."
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the views of the sector were fully represented at the summit, which was attended by 32 people. Twenty of those were "senior representatives from the social enterprise sector", she said.