Public prefer services delivered by social enterprises

Nearly two-thirds of the British public would prefer their local services to be delivered by social enterprises, according to a YouGov poll carried out for umbrella organisation the Social Enterprise Coalition to coincide with Social Enterprise Day today.

Out of the representative sample of 2,287 adults, 64 per cent said they would choose a “business that reinvests its profits for the benefit of the community” to run their local healthcare, rubbish and transport services as efficiently as possible, assuming the cost would remain unchanged.

Only 5 per cent said they would choose a “traditional charity”, whereas 11 per cent would prefer a Government institution and 9 per cent a “business that generates profit for owners and shareholders”.

Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said social enterprises were the logical choice to deliver public services because they combine a public sector ethos with commercial efficiency.

“The movement already enjoys wide cross-party support and we are delighted to see the British people are aware of what social enterprises are doing to transform communities across the country,” he said.

In other Social Enterprise Day-related news, the Government has announced that social enterprise will form a core part of the GCSE business studies syllabus from next September. Third sector minister Phil Hope and Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband will also attend the launch of youth-led advocacy body the Commission for Youth Social Entrepreneurship.

A new guide offering specialist business information for aspiring and existing social enterprises will also be launched on the Government’s business advice website www.businesslink.gov.uk. And young people will be invited to submit their favourite ideas for changing the world to the social networking website Bebo as part of the Government’s Make Your Mark campaign to promote enterprise to young people. The winner, to be announced by Hope and enterprise minister Stephen Timms, will receive a £5,000 award from social entrepreneurs support organisation UnLtd to put their idea into practice.

Ed Miliband said: “I want to see a new generation of social entrepreneurs inspired to dedicate themselves to a way of doing business that combines making money with having a significant positive impact on our communities and environment.

“We are in the foothills of what the social enterprise movement can achieve, and I welcome the progress being made by departments across government to embrace social enterprises and their capacity to profoundly change society for the better.”

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