Finance: Local authorities urged to work more with social enterprises

The Social Enterprise Coalition has called on newly elected local councillors to use social enterprises to deliver public services.

The coalition has produced a leaflet for councillors who won seats in the 6 May poll, illustrating the advantages of local authorities working with social enterprises.

"Social enterprise is a business model for the 21st century," said Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the coalition. "Buying goods and services from social enterprises is a fantastic way for local authorities to deliver value for money and make a real difference to their communities.

"Social enterprises are uniquely placed to create joined-up solutions for local communities - for example, linking the provision of services such as housing, recycling or leisure with training and employment opportunities."

The Social Enterprise Coalition has also produced a campaign pack for organisations that want to promote social enterprise locally.

Fellow umbrella body Social Enterprise London has welcomed the election of many signatories to its Social Enterprise Charter in the local elections.

Conservative Stephen Greenhalgh, who became leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council after Labour was ousted, was one supporter of the manifesto, which committed signatories to bringing forward proposals to create a level playing field on which social enterprises can compete for procurement contracts.

Kevin Davis, leader of the Conservative opposition on the Liberal Democrat-led Kingston Council, said social enterprise would enable the council to become a commissioner rather than a provider of services.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Social Enterprise London, said: "It's fantastic to have key supporters of social enterprise being elected by Londoners. I am keen to see how they will offer practical support and assistance to social enterprise to ensure meaningful and lasting change across the capital.

"Now is the time to put into action the changes that will enable social enterprises to fulfil their potential as competitive businesses developing community wealth."

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