A group of five umbrella bodies has proposed that the government should set up social enterprises to run public services instead of passing them to quangos or privatising them.
The coalition - of Social Enterprise London, the Social Enterprise Coalition, the NCVO, Acevo and Co-operatives UK - has put the proposal to Vince Cable, the new business secretary, and hopes he will pilot the new model in business support services.
"We're hoping to see the 'social enterprisation' of public services,"
said Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of SEL. "We've seen that the model works for Welsh Water, a social enterprise that has taken a privatised service and run it more effectively than private companies."
She said the public sector too often set targets for private contractors because they were easy to measure rather than because they were what the contractors most needed to achieve.
"Using a system like this instead would make it much easier for the government to ensure that the organisation it set up would work for the good of the people it is intended to benefit," she said.