Social enterprises baffle the public and private sectors, research finds

PricewaterhouseCoopers report offers insight on public service joint bids

The main barrier to joint bids between third sector and private sector organisations to run public services is a lack of understanding, according to research carried out by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The PwC research, summarised in a new report, New Partnerships for Public Services, found that the other major factor preventing collaboration across the sectors in order to bid for public service delivery contracts was a lack of ability among commissioners to measure social return.

"A lot of the work people have been doing in this area has been around improving finance and bid processes," said Dame Julie Mellor, a partner at PwC. "But what both sectors are saying quite emphatically is that they don't know how to make collaborations work.

 "What we want to do now is work with private and social enterprises and public sector commissioners to talk about how better understanding can be achieved," she added.

PwC asked 100 private and social enterprises about their views on collaborative work.

The poll found there was more enthusiasm for collaboration among private companies than in social enterprises. While 87 per cent of private sector respondents said collaboration between social enterprises and private firms was important to the growth of the third sector, only 47 per cent of social enterprises held the same view.

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