An Alternative Commission on Social Investment has been set up by social entrepreneurs and advisers, and will investigate issues in the social investment market and suggest how to make it more accessible.
It is led by David Floyd, managing director of the east London-based community interest company Social Spider. He has taken on the role of commission team leader, with two advisers: Dan Gregory, a consultant and former civil servant, and Nikki Wilson, also a consultant, who has worked in grant-making and assessment.
The work of the commission, which starts this month and will culminate in a report published in February, is steered by a 15-person team of commissioners from a variety of backgrounds including Ian Marr, chief executive of Aberdeen YMCA, Julia Morley, a lecturer in accounting at the London School of Economics, Holly Piper, a senior invesment manager at the social investor CAF Venturesome, and Asheem Singh, director of public policy at the charity chief executives body Acevo.
Floyd said: "Over the last five years, I have been consistently annoyed by the gap between the often hyperbolic rhetoric about the social investment market and the reality of its irrelevance to most charities and social enterprises.
"The point of doing the project, though, is to move beyond both the hype and complaining about the hype to make some practical suggestions about how things could be better."
He said the report's aim would be "to help make the social investment market more accessible and relevant to a wider range of charities, social enterprises and citizens working to bring about positive social change".
He said he hoped the report would be of interest to a number of stakeholders, including government, the social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital, social investment finance intermediaries, foundations, support organisations and umbrella bodies.
The commission's launch comes in the same week that a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference heard that the social investment sector was not doing enough to ensure its potential customers understood and were engaged by the social finance products on offer.
The alternative commission is being funded by the grant-maker the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.