"It's not that the politicians aren't taking social enterprise seriously, because I think they are - it's in their policies," said Thornton. "But we have a job to do with the Department for Communities and Local Government, because senior civil servants there have not taken enterprises as seriously as they should and haven't considered them as part of their work streams."
Thornton added that the coalition should work to make sure that members of the Conservative Party, especially those in local government, were more aware of the benefits that social businesses could bring to society.
The Labour and Co-operative peer, who founded the coalition six years ago, was announced this week as the first chair of the partnership board for the Innovation Exchange, which has a £1.2m contract with the Office of the Third Sector (Third Sector Online, 5 September).
The exchange will encourage the third sector, public servants and social investors to collaborate to tackle specific social problems. The most promising projects will receive specialised support and training.