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GrowingtheBigSociety

Encouragingsuccessinsocialandcommunity
enterpriseindeprivedcommunities
EdCoxandKatieSchmuecker

June2010

InstituteforPublicPolicyResearch
Challengingideas– Changingpolicy
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Contents
Aboutipprnorth........................................................................................................................2
AboutNorthWestTogetherWeCan.........................................................................................2
Acknowledgements....................................................................................................................2
Executivesummary.....................................................................................................................3
Introduction................................................................................................................................7
1.Policyandliteraturereview....................................................................................................9
2.Casestudies..........................................................................................................................15
3.Resultsfromtheonlinesurvey............................................................................................31
4.Theviewfromsupportprovidersandlocalauthorities........................................................39
5.Conclusionsandrecommendations......................................................................................44
References................................................................................................................................50
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Aboutipprnorth
ipprnorth,theNewcastle-basedofficeoftheInstituteforPublicPolicyResearch,produces
far-reachingpolicyideas,stimulatingsolutionsthatworknationallyaswellaslocally.These
areshapedfromourresearch,whichspanseconomicdevelopment,regeneration,public
servicesanddevolutionaswellasastrongdemocraticengagementstrandwhichinvolvesa
widerangeofaudiencesinpoliticaldebates.
ipprnorth,2ndFloor,20CollingwoodStreet,NewcastleUponTyneNE11JF
Tel+44(0)1912339050|www.ippr.org/north
RegisteredCharityNo.800065
ThispaperwasfirstpublishedinJune2010.©ipprnorth2010

AboutNorthWestTogetherWeCan
NorthWestTogetherWeCanistheempowermentpartnershipfortheNorthWestof
England.Itencouragescollaborativelearning,practiceandresearchaboutcommunity
empowermentandengagementintheregion.
Contact:EveDavidson,NWTWCProgrammeManager:
eve.davidson@nwtwc.org.uk/01612181789
www.nwtwc.org.uk

Acknowledgements
ThisreporthasbeencompiledbytheInstituteforPublicPolicyResearchNorth(ipprnorth)
andManchesterBusinessSchoolIncubatorforNorthWestTogetherWeCan,the
EmpowermentPartnershipintheNorthWest.
ipprnorthwouldliketothankNorthWestTogetherWeCan,aswithouttheirfundingthis
timelypieceofresearchwouldnothavehappened.Wewouldalsoliketopayspecialthanks
NickalaTorkingtonSnapeandAlexanderLesbirelfromManchesterBusinessSchoolIncubator
fortheirdiligentworktogatherthecasestudymaterialforthisreport,andtheorganisations
thatagreedtoparticipateintheresearchascasestudies.Theirwillingnesstogiveuptheir
valuabletimetospeaktous,andtheircandidapproachtoourquestionsmadethisresearch
possible.
Wewouldalsoliketothankalloftheorganisationsthattookthetimetocompleteour
onlinesurvey,andtheorganisationsthathelpedustodistributeit,inparticularCheshire&
WarringtonSocialEnterprisePartnership,CoopsNorthWest,CumbriaSocialEnterprise
Partnership,DevelopmentTrustAssociation(DTA),GreaterManchesterCouncilforVoluntary
Organisations(GMCVO),SocialEnterpriseinLancashireNetwork(SELNET),SocialEnterprise
Network(SEN),SocialEnterpriseNorthWest(SENW),theSocialEnterpriseCoalitionand
TogetherWorks.
Finally,wewouldliketothankallthosewhocontributedtotheideascontainedinthisreport
throughtheworkshopandinformaldiscussions.Inparticular:JoBird,JoBowenJones,
RichardCaulfield,EveDavidson,ValJones,HelenaKettleboroughandJeffScales.Wewould
alsoliketothankthefollowingindividualsfromwithinippr:TamsinCrimmens,TimFinch,
GeorginaKyriacou,EvelynTehraniandJoThomas.
Thefindingsofourresearchare,however,theresponsibilityoftheauthorsaloneanddonot
necessarilyrepresenttheviewofthefundersoranyotherindividualsororganisations
involvedwiththeresearch.
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Executivesummary
Thethirdsector,particularlysocialenterprise,hasmovedintothepolicymainstreamin
recentyears.UndertheLabourgovernmentsocialenterpriseswereregardedasapotential
delivererofpublicservicesandfacilitatorsofcivicactivism,communitycapacityand
cohesion.Thenewcoalitiongovernmentiscontinuingonthispath,withthe‘BigSociety’
emergingasanimportantearlytheme.
TheCoalition’splansincludegivingcommunitiesmorepowersandrightstomanagelocal
assetsandservices,trainingagenerationofcommunityorganisers,supportingphilanthropy,
andgrowingthesizeofthethirdsector.Earlypolicystatementsemphasisetheroleofsocial
enterpriseparticularly,settingoutmeasurestosupportthegrowthofexistingsocial
enterprisesandtheestablishmentofnewones.
ThenewregionalstrategycurrentlybeingdevelopedfortheNorthWestalsomakessocial
enterpriseapriority.NorthWestTogetherWeCancommissionedipprnorthtoidentifythe
criticalsuccessfactorsforsocialandcommunityenterprisesandinformthewiderdebate.
Thisisthesummaryofareportthatdrawstogethertheresultsofcasestudyresearch,a
surveyofsocialandcommunityenterprisesintheNorthWest,asmallnumberofinterviews
withsupportprovidersandlocalauthorities,andacross-sectorworkshop.

Positivefindingsbutchallengesremain
Ourworkfindsthatallinall,therearemanyreasonsforcommunityandsocialenterprisesto
becheerful.Themessagescomingfromthenewgovernmentareverypositivetowardsthe
thirdsector,andthisresearchshowslocalauthoritiestootobeincreasinglyawareand
supportiveofsocialandcommunityenterprise,andanumberoforganisationstobedoing
excellentworkinandwiththeircommunities.
Buttherearesomesignificantchallengesonthehorizon.Inparticular:
•Theimplicationsofthepublicsectorspendingcuts
•ThefundingcliffedgeloominginMarch2011asmanygrants,serviceagreementsand
contractsareduetoend
•Fearsthatthedriveforpublicsectorefficiencywillresultineverlargercontracts,pushing
commissioningandprocurementfurtheroutofreachformoreandmoresocialand
communityenterprises.
Perhapsmostchallengingofall,thisresearchfindsthatfull-blownsocialandcommunity
enterprisesarefewandfarbetween.Inrealitytherearemanymoreaspiringsocialand
communityenterprises–currentlylargelydependentongrants–thantherearefully
operationalenterprises.Itwouldseemthereissomethingofagapbetweentheexpectations
oftheBigSocietyandrealityonthegroundintheNorthWest.

Criticalsuccessfactors
Inordertoliveuptotheexpectationsofpolicymakers,itiscrucialthatthesocialand
communityenterprisesectorissupportedtobestrongandvibrant.Inconsideringthecritical
successfactorsfortheseenterprisesintheNorthWestofEngland,particularlythosein
deprivedcommunities,ipprnorthasked:
•Whathelpsmakethemsuccessful?
•Whatimpactdotheyhaveontheirarea?
•Whatsupportdotheyrequire?
•Wheredotheyaccesssupport?
Mostofourcasestudyorganisations’storiesofsuccessrevealcommonthemes,suchasthe
qualityofrelationshipsandnetworks,havingtherightpeopletorelyon,andtheneedto
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buildastrongprofileandgoodreputation.Mostoftheorganisationsalsoregarded
undergoinganorganisationalreviewandsecuringasignificantcontracttobekeyturning
points.Thesemomentscatalysedtheirdevelopmentasenterprises,andchangedtheir
organisationalmindset.
Keypointsidentifiedthroughthisresearchprojectaresummarisedbelow.
Enablersofsuccess
Astrongteam:Theimportanceofcommittedandenthusiasticpeoplewiththerightskills–
oraccesstootherswiththerightskills–washighlightedrepeatedly.Thisextendednotonly
tostaffandvolunteers,buttoboardmembersandmentorstoo.Astrongleaderwithaclear
visionisalsoveryimportant.
Networksandprofile:Havingstrongnetworkswithotherorganisationsabletoofferpeer-
to-peersupportandmentoringishighlyvalued.Sotooisparticipatinginmixednetworks
thatofferopportunitiestobuildprofile,learnaboutbusinessopportunitiesandform
consortia.
Serviceprovisionandidentifyinganiche:Socialandcommunityenterprisesneednotonly
tounderstandthecommunitythattheyserve,butalsohowtoaccessmarketsand–where
relevant–developnewmarkets.Evidencetodemonstratecommunityneedandgapsin
servicesisessential,whichrequiresgoodqualitymarketresearchandprofessionalmarketing
oftheresultingservice.
Thevalueoforganisationalreview: Mostofourcasestudieshighlightedanorganisational
reviewasakeyturningpointontheirjourneytobecomingasuccessfulenterprise,bringing
greaterclarityabouttheirmissionandhowtoachieveit.Oftenthisinvolvedstoppingsome
activitiesandembracingamoreenterprisingmindset.
Barrierstosuccess
Fundingandfinance: Unsurprisingly,fundingrecurredasachallengeforthesector,with
considerableanxietyexpressedaboutthefuture.Theresearchrevealsastrongpreferencefor
fundingintheformofgrants,withveryfewofthesurveyrespondentstryingtoaccessloans
orotherformsofbusinessfinance.
Publicsectorprocurementandcommissioning:Thisshouldbearoutetogreater
sustainability,butanumberofsignificantbarrierswerehighlighted,including:restrictive
specificationsthatsetouthowdeliveryshouldoccur,ratherthanfocusingontheoutcomes
sought;overlycomplexprocesses;tighttimescales;largecontractsthatarebeyondthereach
ofsmallerorganisations.
Accessingrelevantsupport:Findingandaccessingrelevantsupportisakeyenablerofsocial
andcommunityenterprises,butalackofcoordination,informationsharingandsignposting
createsbarriers.
Generally,organisationswerepositiveaboutthesupportprovidedbyothervoluntarysector
agencies,butwantedtoseemorespecialistsupportdirectlyrelevanttotheirorganisation.
Thesurveyfindingssuggestsocialandcommunityenterprisesseeksupportindifferent
places,withcommunityenterprisesmorelikelytoturntootherthirdsectororganisationsor
localauthorities,butthosenotidentifyingthemselvesascommunityenterprisesmorelikely
toturntospecialistsocialenterprisesupportprovidersandorganisationslikeBusinessLink.
Theywerealsomorelikelytohighlightbusinesssupportandprocurementskillsand
knowledgeasareaswheretheyaredissatisfiedwiththesupportavailable.
Developingcoreorganisationalinfrastructure: Successfulorganisationsarebuiltongood
processes.Financialmanagementandhumanresourcesthatfunctioneffectivelyenablethe
restoftheorganisationtooperatesmoothly.Fundingthisactivityremainsasignificant
barriertomanyorganisations.
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Recommendations
1)MakingBigSocietyflourish
Thenewimpetusgeneratedbythecoalitiongovernment’semphasisontheroleofsocial
enterpriseincreatingtheBigSocietyistobewelcomed.However,itwouldseemthat–in
theNorthWestatleast–thereisasignificantgapbetweentheexpectationsfortheBig
Societyandthecurrentcapacityofthesector.Ambitionstobuildcapacityalsolook
dangerouslyconstrainedbytheMarch2011fundingcliff-edge.
Inordertobridgethegapandaddressconcernsaboutcapacityandfunding, werecommend
anurgentneedforrobustandfrequentdialoguebetweennationalpolicymakers,
regionally-basedrepresentativesofthevoluntaryandcommunitysectorandsocial
enterprise,localauthoritiesandothersupportagencies.
Whilefinancesaretight,themoneythatdoescometothesectorthroughtheBigSociety
Bank,theCommunitiesFirstFundandanylocalauthoritydiscretionaryspendshouldbe
targetedattheareasofgreatestneed.Investmentshouldfocusonsecuringsustainability
andsupportingstart-uporganisationsinareaswheretheyareabsent.Someofthisfunding
shouldtaketheformofseed-corngrants,givenspecificallytosupportorganisationstomove
ontoamoreenterprisingfooting.
2)Makingthetransitiontoenterprise
CommunityandsocialenterprisesintheNorthWestareplayingacriticalroleinthevitality
andwell-beingofmanycommunitiesacrosstheregion,notleastinsomeofthemost
deprivedneighbourhoodswheretheyactasasocialglueenhancingresilienceandqualityof
life.However,itwouldappearthatasubstantialproportionoforganisationscalling
themselvessocialorcommunityenterprisesstillhavesomedistancetotraveltoachieve
sustainability.Organisationsneedsupportiftheyaretoreducetheirrelianceongrantsand
movetomoreenterprisingactivity.
Werecommendthatleaders,Boardmembersandtrusteesoforganisationsaspiringtobe
communityorsocialenterprisescarryoutanorganisationalreview,focusingoncore
missionandfuturefinancialsustainabilityinordertofacilitateagenuinetransitiontoa
moreenterprisingapproach.
Supportingthistransitionshouldbeakeyfocusofnationalpolicymakers,regionally-based
representativesofthevoluntaryandcommunitysectorandsocialenterprise,localauthorities
andothersupportagencies.
3)Commissioningandprocurement
Bothprocurementandcommissioningofferaroutetosustainabilityformanysocialand
communityenterprises,andyetourresearchshowsthatmostcommunityandsocial
enterprisesexperiencesignificantbarriersinaccessingsuchfunding.
Werecommendthatlocalauthoritiesandotherlocalserviceprovidersshouldreview
commissioningandprocurementprocessestobetterunderstandtheneedsandbenefits
ofthesocialandcommunityenterprisesectorandshouldthenmovequicklyfrom
developingstrategiesandplanningtoconcreteaction.
Reviewsshouldfocusonremovingunnecessarycomplexityandbureaucracy.Toensurethe
usersperspectiveisattheheartoftheprocess,localsocialandcommunityenterprises
shouldbeinvolvedinthereviewtoensureanynewprocessesareaccessible.Contractsize
shouldalsobeconsidered,withlocalauthoritiesandtheirpartnersconsciousthatas
contractsincreaseinsizetheybecomemoredifficultforlocally-basedsocialandcommunity
enterprisestodeliver,favouringinsteadlargernationalorinternationalorganisationsand
businesses.Thereisdissonancebetweeneconomiesofscaleontheonehand,and
supportingsustainablelocalcommunityandsocialenterprisesontheother.
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Partoftheanswerliesincontinuingtodevelopcapacityforconsortiaworkinginthe
voluntarysector,butanotherpartislikelytorelyonafundamentalreassessmentofwhatwe
meanby‘value’.Valueshouldincorporateideasofplace-shapingandpromotingsocial,
economicandenvironmentalsustainability.
4)Coordinatingsupport
Awiderangeoforganisationsandindividualsacrossthepublic,privateandvoluntarysectors
areofferingsupporttosocialandcommunityenterprises.Fromprovidersofgeneric
voluntarysectorsupport,toorganisationsofferingspecialistsupport,businesssupport
providersandlocalauthorities,thepictureiscomplex,confusingandunhelpfully
competitive.
Organisationstendtoneeddifferenttypesofsupportatdifferentstagesoftheir
development.Thefocusshouldbefirmlyontheneedsoftheclientastheyareguided
throughdifferentstagesofdevelopmentandhandedontothenextlevelofsupportwhen
(andif)relevant.Generallyspeaking,communitydevelopmentsupportislikelytobeneeded
intheveryearlystagesofthelifecycle,genericvoluntarysectorsupportasanorganisation
becomesmoreestablished,andbusinessand/orspecialistsupportasanorganisationmoves
ontoafirmenterpriseorseekstogrow.Supportshouldthereforebelinkedintoa‘lifecycle
framework’,withprovidersspecialisingindifferentpartsofthelifecycleandreferring
enterprisestootherproviderswhereandwhentheyarebetterabletomeettheirneeds.
Werecommendthat,ininterestsofthewidersector,thewiderangeofsupportagencies
operatingintheNorthWestworktogethertobettercoordinatetheireffortsandpresent
amorecoherentsupportoffertoexistingandaspiringcommunityandsocialenterprises
intheregion,basedona‘lifecycleframework’.

Takingthisagendaforward
Thekeymessagesofthisresearchshouldformthestartingpointforaconversationwithin
theregion,andbetweentheregionandgovernment.Throughpartnerorganisations,we
hopethisresearchwillbewidelycirculated,viewsfedback,andadialogueonthebestways
torespondtothesechallengesbegun.Socialandcommunityenterprises,theirrepresentative
organisationsandthewiderthirdsectorhavetheopportunitytoshapetheGovernment’sBig
Societyagendaasitemerges.Wehopethisresearchwillhelpinthistask.
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Introduction
Socialenterprisehasbeenclimbingthepolicyagendainrecentyears,andlookssettotake
centrestageunderthecoalitiongovernment.The‘BigSociety’hasemergedasakeytheme
forthenewgovernment,placingthevoluntarysectorattheheartofpublicpolicymaking,
withacentralroletoplayinpublicservicedeliveryandcivilsociety.Earlypolicystatements
emphasiseinparticulartheroleofsocialenterprise,settingoutmeasurestosupportthe
growthofexistingsocialenterprisesandtheestablishmentofnewones.
Asocialenterpriseisabusinesswithprimarilysocialobjectives,whosesurplusesare
principallyreinvestedforthatpurposeinthebusinessorcommunity,ratherthansurpluses
beingusedtomaximiseprofitforshareholdersorowners.WithintheNorthWestregion,this
kindofenterprisehasbeenidentifiedasoneoffivekeyprioritiesinreleasingpotentialand
tacklingpovertyintheregioninRS2010,thedraftregionalstrategy.Thestrategyargues
thatsocialenterprisehasbeenattheheartoftheregion’screativeandradicaltradition,and
thata‘strongsenseofcollectiveactionandcollaborationhasalsocharacterisedtheNorth
WestandisreflectedinthisregionbeingthebirthplaceoftheCo-operativemovementand
GroundworkTrust’(RS2010,p27).
Aswellassocialenterprise,thisreportlooksat communityenterprise.Communityenterprise
isaslightlynewertermtothepolicylexicon,whichwasdefinedbyarecentDepartmentfor
CommunitiesandLocalGovernment(CLG)strategy:
Communityenterpriseshaveexactlythesameprinciplesassocial
enterprises.However,theyaredifferentinthattheyseektobenefita
particulargeographicareaorcommunityofinterestandareoftenrun
bypeoplefromwithinthecommunitytheyserve.(CLG2010)
Likesocialenterprisestheyreinvestsurplusesbackintotheircommunities,buttheyalsoactas:
‘…afocalpointforlocalpeopletoidentifytheunmetneedsoftheir
communitiesandtorespondtothoseneedswiththehelpoftheirown
income-generatingactivities.Communityenterprisesprovidelocal
employmentandtrainingopportunities,helpcreateandretain
communitywealthandcanmakearealdifferencetolocalpeople,
particularlyduringtheeconomicdownturn. (ibid)
Thisdefinitionfitsanumberofdifferenttypesoforganisations,mostobviouslycommunity
anchororganisations,substantialmulti-purposeorganisationsthatprovidearangeof
servicestoacommunityandownormanagealocalasset,suchasacommunitycentre.
Howevercommunityanchorsandcommunitycentresarenottheonlyformofcommunity
enterprise.Theycanalsobemuchsmallerorganisations,operatingwherethefreemarket
doesnotprovideasufficientreturnforprivateenterprise.Forexample,childcareprovidersin
deprivedcommunitiesareoftencommunityenterprises,asarecreditunionsandcommunity
cooperatives.Indeed,communityenterprisecanplayaparticularlyimportantpartindeprived
areas,supportingcommunitiestocometogethertoimprovetheirarea,anddelivering
servicesthatwouldnotexistotherwise.
Thenewcoalitiongovernmentlookssettocontinuethiscommitmenttosocialand
communityenterprise.ItsBigSocietyagendahighlightstheroleofneighbourhoodworking,
andidentifiessocialenterprise,charitiesandcooperativesashavingavaluablerolein
runningpublicservices.

Aimsandstructureofthereport
Thisreportconsidersthecriticalsuccessfactorsforsocialandcommunityenterprisesinthe
NorthWestofEngland,particularlythoseindeprivedcommunities.Itasks:
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•Whathelpsmakethemsuccessful?
•Whatimpactdotheyhaveontheirarea?
•Whatsupportdotheyrequire?
•Wheredotheyaccessthatsupport?
Italsolooksatwhetherthesupportneedsofsocialandcommunityenterprisesdiffer,and
whatroleregionalandlocalgovernmentcanandshouldbeplayingtoensureastrongand
vibrantsocialandcommunityenterprisesectorthatisabletoliveuptothehigh
expectationsofpolicymakers.
Section1providesanoverviewofthepolicycontextforcommunityandsocialenterprise,
andareviewoftherelevantliterature.
Thesecondsectionpresentsthefindingsofdetailedcasestudyresearchconductedwithfive
socialandcommunityenterprisesintheNorthWest,chartingthejourneytheyhavebeenon
andidentifyingkeyturningpoints,criticalsuccessfactorsandsupportneedsatdifferent
stagesoforganisationaldevelopment.
Thethirdsectionprovidestheresultsofanonlinesurveyconductedwithsocialand
communityenterprisesintheNorthWest,whichprovidedanopportunityforawiderrange
oforganisationstogivetheirviewsonthecriticalsuccessfactorsandsupportneedsofsocial
andcommunityenterprise.
Section4drawsonasmallnumberofinterviewswithkeydecision-makersandsupport
providersattheregionalandlocallevelandaworkshopheldwithindividualsworkingin
socialandcommunityenterprise,infrastructureorganisationsandrepresentativesoflocaland
regionalgovernmentintheNorthWest.
Thefinalsectionofferssomeconclusionsandrecommendations.
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1.Policyandliteraturereview
Thevoluntarysectorgenerally,andsocialenterprisesinparticular,havemovedintothe
policymainstreaminrecentyears.UndertheLabourgovernmentstheywereregardedasa
potentialdelivererofpublicservices,afacilitatorofcivicactivismandabuilderofcommunity
capacityandcohesion.Thisdirectionoftravellookssettocontinueunderthenew
Conservative-LiberalDemocratcoalition,withthejobofrebuildingaresponsiblesociety
beingaddedtothelist.Thispolicyinterestinsocialenterprisehasledtoagrowingbodyof
researchintothesectoranditssupportneeds.
Thissectiongivesashortoverviewofthedevelopmentofsocialenterprisepolicyunderthe
Labourgovernments,andtheplansofthenewgovernment,beforegoingontoreviewthe
literatureonthesupportneedsofsocialandcommunityenterprises.

Policycontext
TheLabouryears
TheLabourgovernmentsrecognisedthepotentialofthevoluntarysectortoplayarolein
helpinggovernmenttoachievesomeofitsdesiredoutcomes,includingpublicservice
deliveryandactiveandcohesivecommunities.However,italsorecognisedtheneedtobuild
thecapacityofthesectortomakethiscontribution.Akeyfocusofpolicybecamethe
provisionofsupporttofrontlineorganisationstobuildtheircapacityandprofessionalismand
toinfrastructureorganisationstoaidtheminthetaskofsupportingfrontlineorganisations.
SomeofthekeyinitiativesdesignedtodothisaresetoutinBox1.1.

Box1.1.KeyinitiativesundertheLabourgovernment
Futurebuildersfund:EstablishedfollowingtheTreasury’scross-cuttingreviewin2002,
providesloansgrantsandprofessionalsupporttothirdsectororganisationstobidforand
deliverpublicservicecontracts.Theprojectedvalueofitsloans,grantsandloan
guaranteesupto2011is£65million.
Capacitybuildersfund: Establishedtobuildthecapacityofthirdsectorinfrastructure
organisationstodeliverservicesmoreeffectivelytofrontlinethirdsectororganisations.
Thefundhasprovidedover£85million.
Communitybuildersfund: A£70millioninvestmentfundformulti-purpose,inclusive,
community-ledorganisations,or‘communityanchors’,tobuildmoreactiveand
empoweredcommunities.
SocialEnterpriseActionPlan: Setsoutfourkeyareasofsupportforsocialenterprise:
1.Improvethebusinessadvice,informationandsupport
2.Tacklethebarrierstoaccesstofinance
3.Enablesocialenterprisestoworkeffectivelywithgovernment
4.Fosteracultureofsocialenterprise.(CabinetOffice2006)
Assettransfer: TheQuirkReview,publishedin2007,madethecaseforlocalgroups
owningandmanagingcommunityassetssuchascommunitycentresorvillagehalls,with
assetsofferingasourceofrevenuetoorganisations(QuirkReview2007).Anasset-based
approachtocommunitydevelopmentsubsequentlybecamepartofgovernmentpolicy,
withtheEmpowermentWhitePaper(CLG2008)establishinganAssetTransferUnitto
supportcommunitiestotakeonassetmanagement.
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Duringthisperiodtheabilityofthethirdsectortodeliverservicesthatarebettersuitedto
specificcommunityneedsandtoreachouttothemostmarginalisedgroupswasestablished
(HMTreasury2004).Thiswaspartofabroadercommissioningandprocurementagenda,
whichhasseenthepublicsectorincreasinglycontractoutservicestoamixedeconomyof
suppliers,includingthethirdsector.Thistrendissettocontinueunderthecoalition
government.
AnotherenduringthemefortheLabourgovernmentswastheroleofthevoluntarysectorin
enablingcommunitiestoflourish.TheCommunityEnterpriseStrategicFrameworkpublished
atthebeginningof2010madeclearthespecificroleforcommunity-basedsocialenterprises
inreinvigoratingdeprivedcommunities.Ithighlightedtheroletheyplayinlocal
regeneration,employmentandtraining,aswellaskeepingresourceswithinthecommunity
byemployinglocalpeopleandusinglocalsuppliers.Communityenterpriseswithanasset
suchasabuildingwereseentoprovideakeyfocusforthecommunity,creatingspacefor
communitiestocometogetherandmobilisearoundsharedconcerns,buildingcohesionand
socialcapital.Suchorganisationsfrequentlyalsoprovidemeetingspaceforotherlocal
voluntaryandcommunitygroups.Again,itislikelythatthisthemewillcontinueunderthe
newcoalitiongovernment.

Thecoalitiongovernment:fleshingouttheBigSociety
ThisearlyoninthelifeoftheCoalitionitisnotyetclearwhattheapproachofthenew
governmentwillbe.However,theConservativeParty’sBigSociety,NotBigGovernment
document,publishedjustbeforethegeneralelection,setoutanumberofcommitments,
suggestingsocialandcommunityenterprisewillremaincentraltotheirapproach,asoutlined
inBox1.2.

Box1.2.Conservativecommitments
• CreateaBigSocietyBank toinvest£75millionfromunclaimedbankassetstofinance
thesectorplayingalargerroleintheprovisionofpublicservicesandprovidefundsto
intermediarybodiesprovidingsupporttosocialenterprises.
• EstablishNationalCentresforCommunityOrganisingtotrain5000independent
communityorganisers.
• Newpowersandrightsforneighbourhoodgroups totakeoverrunningcommunity
assets,startschools,getlocalinformationanddata,createLocalHousingTrusts,and
soon.
• RedirectFuturebuildersrevenuesintoaneighbourhoodgrantsprogramme.

BigSociety,NotBigGovernment particularlyemphasisestheroleofsocialenterprise,with
theBigSocietyInvestmentBanktofocusitsresourcesonsupportingorganisationsto
becomesocialenterprisesanddeliverpublicservices(ConservativeParty2010).Interestingly
thedocumentaddsanexplicitresponsibilitydimensiontothevalueofthevoluntarysector,
seeingthesectorashavinganimportantparttoplayinmovingawayfromwhatisperceived
tobeanexcessivefocusonentitlements,andaninsufficientfocusonresponsibilities.
Voluntaryactionisseenasaroutetoamoreresponsibleandmutualsocietywithastrong
cultureofobligation.Socialandcommunityenterpriseareseenashavingafundamentalpart
toplayinmendingour‘brokensociety’.
FrancisMaudeMP,MinisterfortheCabinetOffice,setoutanumberofcommitmentsinhis
firstmajorspeechontheBigSociety,including:
•Theopeningupofservices,enablingvoluntarysectorandsocialenterprise
organisationstocompeteonalevelplayingfieldwiththepublicandprivatesectors
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•Makingiteasiertosetupandrunneworganisationsandenterprisesbyreducing
regulationandredtape
•Increasingtheamountofresourcesflowingintothesector,althoughthesearenot
likelytocomethroughpublicspendingotherthanthroughmorecontracting.
Maudedid,however,outlinesomespendingcommitments,includingaCommunitiesFirst
Fund,providingstart-upfundstargetedatdeprivedcommunitiesandreiteratingthe
commitmenttoestablishingtheBigSocietyBank(Maude2010).
WhilethecommitmenttosetuptheBigSocietyBankusingmoneyfromdormantbank
accountswillprovidesomenewmoney(butonlywithprivatecontributionsinthemix)there
issomeconcernabouttheleveloffundingavailabletosupportthesectortostepuptothe
challengeoftheBigSociety(Coxetal2010).

Reviewingsupportneedsandcriticalsuccessfactors
Thepolicyinterestinsocialandcommunityenterprisehascatalysedconsiderableresearch
interestinthedevelopmentandsupportneedsofsocialandcommunityenterprise.This
sectionsummarisessomeofthekeyfindingsofthatresearch,andbrieflyconsiderswhatwe
knowaboutthelifecycleofsocialenterprises,whattheresearchtellsusabouthowthe
supportneedsofsocialandcommunityenterprisedifferandthecriticalsuccessfactorsfor
socialandcommunityenterprise.
Understandingsocialenterprise:alifecycleapproach
ResearchfortheWelshAssemblyGovernment(2003)hasdevelopedalifecycleapproachto
understandingsocialenterprises.Thisisahelpfulwayofthinkingaboutthesupportneeds
ofcommunityandsocialenterprises,asitenablessupporttobemoreeffectivelytargeted.
Thefivestagesofthelifecyclearesetoutbelow,althoughitshouldbeacknowledgedthat
notallorganisationswillgothrougheachstage.
1.Aninitialidea: Communitydevelopmentandcapacitybuildingneededtodevelopthe
idea
2.Voluntaryactivity:Adviceandsupportlikelytobeneededtosupportthe
organisationandfinancingofactivities
3.Apotentialsocialenterprise:Asanorganisationmovesintobecomingasocial
enterprise,morespecialistsupport,forexamplearoundthespecificlegalandfinancial
issues,islikelytoberequired
4.Expandingbusinesses:Issuesarelikelytobecommontootherbusinesses,for
exampledevelopingITsystemsandneedingmarketingadvice.Somespecialistadvice
mayalsoberequired,forexample,howtoreconcilesocialandbusinessaims
5.Amaturebusiness: Anyadvicerequiredatthisstageislikelytobeforgeneral
businessissues.
Theauthorsconcludethatthemorematureanorganisationbecomes,themoremainstream
supportisappropriate,apointofviewthathasbeenwidelyaccepted.
Whatarethecriticalsuccessfactors?
Areviewoftheliteratureandresearchintosocialandcommunityenterpriseidentifiesa
numberofcriticalsuccessfactorsfororganisations,whichindicatekeyareastoprovide
supportinordertoincreasethenumberofsuccessfulsocialandcommunityenterprises.
Someofthesearemorecriticalatdifferentstagesofanorganisation’slifecyclethanothers.
•Pre-start-upandearlystartupsupport: Manyorganisationsneedagreatdealof
intensivesupportinthepre-start-upandearlystart-upphase,withoutwhichtheywill
notgetoffthegroundassocialorcommunityenterprises.Thesupportrequiredis
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likelytobeparticularlyacuteindeprivedcommunities,wheretherearelikelytobe
fewerassetsandresourcesforentrepreneurstodrawon.
•Financeandfunding: Boththeliteratureandsurveyswiththesectoroftenidentify
fundingandfinanceasthegreatestenablerandinhibitortothesuccessofsocial
enterprises.Aswithanysmallbusiness,accesstocapitalisvitalforgrowth,but
mainstreambanks’lackofunderstandingofsocialenterpriseisanenduringbarrierin
somecases(seeforexampleSocialEnterpriseCoalition2009).Engagingwithpublic
sectorcommissioningandprocurementcanbeakeymeansofachievingfinancial
sustainability,butamajorchallengeforsocialenterprises–andparticularlycommunity
enterprises–isoftenthesizeofcontracts,whichoftencoveranentirelocalauthority
area(CLES2009).
•Mixofskillsontheboard:Oftensocialandcommunityenterprises’boardmembers
reflecttheirsocialmission,meaningtheydonotalwayshaveanappropriatemixof
skillsandexperience.Boardmemberswithexperienceofacommercialbusiness
environmentcanbecrucial(GMCVO2007).
•Gettingthebasicsright:Aclearandsharedstrategicvisionisessentialtoasmooth
runningorganisation.Withoutthis,anyorganisationislikelytostruggle(GMCVO
2007).
•Succession: Oftenorganisationsarefoundedbyasmallnumberofkeyindividuals.A
keytestofsuccessisputtinginplaceaneffectivesuccessionstrategysotheenterprise
outlivesitsfounders(CoopsNorthWest2008).
•Mindset: Forsocialandcommunityenterprisesthathavetheirrootsinavoluntaryor
communitysectororganisations,takingthedecisiontomoveawayfromseekinggrants
totradingisregardedasakeyturningpointthatrequiresachangeinmindset.
Providingsupport–dosocialandcommunityenterpriseneedsdiffer?
Adiverserangeofprovidersexisttodeliversupporttosocialandcommunityenterprises.
Thisrangesfromgenericandspecialisedsupportprovidedfromwithinthevoluntarysector
toconsultantsspecialisinginsocialenterprisetomainstreambusinesssupportservicessuch
asBusinessLink.Thelatteristhekeygovernmentproviderofbusinessadviceandsupport,
providingaservicetosocialenterprisesaswellasprivatesectorbusinesses.
Inresponsetocriticismofthefragmentednatureofbusinesssupport,theLabour
governmentintroducedaBusinessSupportSimplificationProgramme.Asaresultthe
BusinessLinkservicehasbeenstreamlinedtoprovideaninformation,diagnosticsand
brokerageservice,theideabeingtoofferajoined-up‘frontofhouse’thatcanrefer
businessesandsocialenterprisesontorelevantsupportproviders.Inthecaseofsocial
enterprise,thatshouldincludereferringclientsontorelevantspecialistsocialenterprise
supportproviderswhererelevant.However,researchcarriedoutfortheOfficeoftheThird
Sector(OTS)in2007founddespitethissimplification,acomplex,fragmentedinfrastructure
ofsupportstillexistedforsocialenterprises,resultingininconsistentcoverageandquality,
lackofsustainabilityandsometimesinadequatebusinessexpertise(RocketScience2007).
ThefocusondeliveringsocialenterprisesupportthroughthemainstreamBusinessLink
servicereflectstheviewthatthesupportneedsofsocialenterprisesaregenerallythesame
asthoseofprivatesectorbusinesses,withsomeexceptions:
•Optionsforgovernance: Amultitudeoflegalandgoverningstructuresareavailableto
socialandcommunityenterprises,andselectingtherightoneiscriticaltosuccess.This
isakeyareawheresocialandcommunityenterpriseshavespecificneeds(Social
EnterpriseCoalitionandtheGovernanceHub2007).
•Gettingtherightexpertiseontheboard:Asthemainmotivationforestablishingan
enterpriseisthesocialorenvironmentalmission,akeydifficultycanbegettingthe
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rightbalanceofskillsontheboard,includingboardmemberswithbusinessorstrategic
skills(SocialEnterpriseCoalitionandtheGovernanceHub2007).Thisproblemisoften
particularlyacuteindeprivedcommunities,suggestingthisisaproblemcommunity
enterprisesareparticularlylikelytoencounter.
•Language: Whilemuchofthesupportrequiredmaybethesameasforother
businesses,usingadifferentvocabularytodeliveritisthoughttobeimportantfor
socialenterprises.Thereisaneedforadvisersto‘speakthelanguage’ofsocial
enterprise,andempathisewiththesocialorenvironmentalmissionofsocialand
communityenterprises(CabinetOffice2009).Thismaybeparticularlyimportantfor
communityenterprisesthatemergefromthevoluntaryandcommunitysector,which
tendstouseadifferentvocabularytothatoftheprivatesector.
•Time,patienceandsympathy:Thereisalsoevidencethatsocialenterprisesrequire
more‘handholding’intheearlyphasesofstartingupcomparedwithother
entrepreneurs(RocketScience2007)
•Abilitytopay: Socialenterprisesareregardedaslesslikelytobeabletopayfor
businesssupportcomparedtootherbusinesses.Inabilitytopayislikelytobeaneven
morecommonproblemamongcommunityenterprisesservingdisadvantaged
communities.Asaresult,avarietyofgrantsandvoucherschemeshavebeentrialled,
althoughisitdifficulttosettherightvalueandanticipatedemand.Thisisnotan
approachthathasbeentriedintheNorthWest(CabinetOffice2009).
•Mentoring,networkingandpeer-to-peersupport: Theseareallapproachesthattendto
befavouredbysocialenterprises,withpeoplekeentohearfromothersthathavebeen
onasimilarjourneytotheonetheyareundertaking(CabinetOffice2009,Social
EnterpriseCoalition2009).Thissortofsupportmaybeparticularlyimportantfor
communityenterprisesservingdeprivedcommunitiesinordertoprove‘someonelike
them’canbesuccessfulincommunityenterprise.
BusinessLinkNorthWesthasrecognisedthesechallengesbytrainingaround40ofits
universalstaffandadviserstobe‘socialenterprisechampions’,ensuringacrosssectionof
staffareabletoprovidesensitivesupporttobuddingsocialentrepreneursandsocial
enterpriseslookingtogrow.ThishasbeendoneinpartnershipwithSocialEnterpriseNorth
Westandthesub-regionalsocialenterprisepartnershipsCo-opsNorthWestandthe
DevelopmentTrustAssociation.Thisinteractionisthoughttobehelpingtobuildbetter
relationshipsbetweentheseorganisations.
BusinessLinkNorthWestisalsopilotinganoutreachserviceinMerseysidetopromote
enterpriseandBusinessLinkservicestosocialandcommunityenterprises.Similarpilotsare
alsobeingundertakentoincreasetake-upofBusinessLinkservicesamongother‘hardto
reach’groups.Thesocialenterprisepilotisledbyanindividualwithabackgroundinsocial
enterprise,andtheroleinvolvesoutreachinthesocialandcommunityenterprisesector,
buildingrelationshipsandtrust,andsupportingorganisationstoreachthepointofbeing
readytoparticipateinmainstreamBusinessLinkservices.Thepilotiscurrentlybeing
evaluated,andlastyearBusinessLinkNorthWestoverachieveditsengagementtargetsfor
socialenterprise(engagingwith1,573organisations,againstatargetof1,500).Italsocame
closetoitstargetof300forintensiveassistance,providingsupportto293socialenterprises.
Theapproachusedinthepilottouchesonakeydifficultyhighlightedbytheevaluationof
theOTSSocialEnterpriseBusinessSupportImprovementProgramme,whichishowfaritis
thejobofamainstreamsupportproviderlikeBusinessLinktoreachouttopre-start-ups.
Thepre-start-upcategorypotentiallyincludesaverylargenumberoforganisations,manyof
whichdonotwishto–orinpracticewillnotbeableto–developaviabletradingarm
(CabinetOffice2009).Thisislikelytobeaparticularissueforcommunityenterprisesthat
havetheirrootsinthevoluntaryandcommunitysectororganisations,whichoftenhavea
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longwaytotraveltomoveintoenterprisingactivity.Theseorganisationsareparticularly
likelytoexperiencebarriersrelatedtofindingtherightskills,beputoffbythevocabularyof
thebusinessworldandneedamoreintensivelevelofsupportinordertodevelopinto
communityenterprises.Otherorganisationswithacommunitydevelopmentremitmaybe
betterplacedtoreachouttotheseorganisationsandbringthemtothestageofbeing
‘enterpriseready’.Thismaysuggestakeyroleforlocalauthorities,orthehostof
consultants,advisersandothervoluntarysectorsupportprovidersincludingtheSub-
RegionalSocialEnterpriseNetworks,allofwhichareactiveinthisarea.Gettingthesystem
workingsothateffectivereferralstakeplacebetweenBusinessLink,SocialEnterprise
Networksandthevoluntaryandcommunitysectorremainsakeychallenge(CabinetOffice
2009).
TheregionaldevelopmentagencyfortheNorthWest,theNWDA,hasalsobeensupporting
socialenterpriseinanumberofways:
•Awareness-raisingandpromotion:throughsupportforSocialEnterpriseNorthWest
anditssub-regionalpartnershipsandthrougheventsliketradefairs(althoughthis
programmecametoanendattheendofMarch).
•UsingEuropeanRegionalDevelopmentFund(ERDF)andNWDAsingleprogramme
fundingtorunworkshopsandproducenewsletterstosharegoodpractice.Seven
masterclasseswerealsoheldtobuildskillsinthesocialenterprisesector,including
marketingandPR,strategicplanningandimpactassessment.
•Thereisanongoingnetworkandcollaborationprojectwhichwillpickuptradefair
activities.
•NWDAisalsointhefinalstagesofdevelopingaSocialEnterprisegrowthsupport
programme,tosupportorganisationswithaspirationsandpotentialtogrow.Thiswill
includeonetooneconsultancysupport(brokeredbyBusinessLink),continuingthe
masterclassseries,pickinguppeer-to-peermentoringbegununderaCapacityBuilders
projectthatisending,andprocurementsupport.
NWDAalsorunsanIntensiveStartUpService(ISUS)providingpre-andpost-start-up
supportforthreeyears,targetingunder-performinggroupsincludingsocialenterprises.This
supportisdeliveredflexiblyatthelocallevel.Aregionalhighgrowthstart-upprogrammeis
anotherNWDAventure,whichsomesocialenterpriseshavebenefitedfrom.
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2.Casestudies
Toexploreinmoredetailthecriticalsuccessfactorsforsocialandcommunityenterprise,
theirsupportneedsandtheeventsthatcanprovetobekeyturningpointsinthelifeofan
organisation,casestudyresearchwascarriedoutwithfivesocialandcommunityenterprises
intheNorthWest1.Theparticipatingorganisationscoveredarangeofdifferentsettingsin
theNorthWestregion,fromthecoreurbanareatoaruralvillagesetting.Theorganisations
were:
•StPeter’sPartnershipandStPeter’sTradingpartnership,AshtonunderLyne,Tameside
•FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrust,Speke,Liverpool
•ClaytonBrookCommunityHouse,ClaytonBrook,Clayton-le-Woods,Lancashire
•BubbleEnterprises,basedinManchester,workingacrosstheNorthWest
•Nentheadvillageshopandpostoffice,Nenthead,Cumbria
Fouroftheorganisationsarecommunityenterprises,servingdefinedgeographic
communities.BubbleEnterprisesincontrastworksacrosstheNorthWest–withpeoplewith
experienceofmentalhealthproblems.
Ineachcase,researchersspenttimewiththeorganisationsduringMarch2010,observing
howtheyoperateandinterviewingkeystaff.Thecasestudyinterviewscovered:
•Howtheorganisationhasadaptedtochallengesandmanagedchange
•Thefactorsthathavecontributedtotheorganisation’ssuccesses
•Theorganisation’skeysupportneedsatdifferentstages
•Theorganisations,individualsandtoolsthathaveprovidedvaluablesupporttothe
developmentoftheorganisation
•Barrierstothedevelopmentoftheorganisation
•Thesupportthatwouldideallybeavailableandwhoshoulddeliverit.
Anoverviewofeachcasestudyorganisationisprovidedinthefollowingpages.

1.ipprnorthwouldliketothankNickalaTorkingtonSnapeandAlexanderLesbirelfromManchesterBusinessSchoolIncubatorfor
carryingouttheresearchforthesecasestudies.
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CaseStudy1:StPeter’sPartnerships

Location: Ashton-Under-Lyne,GreaterManchester
Ageoforganisation: 9years
Legalstructure:Twocompanystructures–StPeter’sCommunityPartnership(company
limitedbyguaranteewithcharitablestatus)andStPeter’sTradingPartnership(company
limitedbyguarantee,actingasatradingarm)
Annualturnover:£2millionacrossthetwoorganisations
Staff: 70staffandcommunityvolunteers
Boardmembers:12places,currently10boardmembers

Background
StPeter’sPartnershipsbegantoevolvein1998asalegacytotheworkinitiatedbythe
AshtonRegenerationProject,aTamesideBoroughCouncilpartnershipfundedby
NeighbourhoodRenewalandSingleRegenerationBudgetplusEuropeanfunding.Asmall
numberofactiveresidentsofStPeter’swardworkedinpartnershipwiththeprojectteamto
lookathowacommunity-ledapproachcouldaddresstherangeofenvironmentalandsocial
issuesaffectingtheareawhileofferinghope,skillsandopportunity.Anumberof
community-basedprojectswerelaunchedaddressing:health,housing,theenvironmentand
communitysafety.StPeter’sPartnershipswasregisteredasacharityin2001.
Thebeneficiariesoftheorganisationsarelocalresidents,thosepeoplelivingandworking
withintheAshton-under-LynewardofStPeter’s.Groupssuchasyoungpeople,olderpeople
andthoseatparticulardisadvantagebecamethefocusofattention.Theareaishighly
deprived;accordingtotheIndexforMultipleDeprivation2007itisamongthebottom5per
centLowerLayerSuperOutputAreas(LSOAs)forEngland.Itisethnicallymixed:
Bangladeshi,IndianandPakistaniresidentsconstituteover20percentofthepopulation.
Thewardsuffersfromhighlevelsofeconomicinactivity.
Howdoestheorganisationlooktoday?
In2003,theorganisationwasrestructured StPeter’sPartnerships’proudest
withafocusonbringing‘unityintothe achievements
community’andacompanylimitedby • Developingandretainingthe
guaranteewithcharitablestatuswassetup community-ledboard
toruncharitableactivitiesunderthe • Keepingcommunityfocusand
followingthemes: involvementinspiteofrapidgrowth
•Strengtheningcommunities • Commitmentanddriveofstaffandlow
•Childrenandyoungpeople staffturnover
•Employmentandtraining • WinningaBURA(BritishUrban
RegenerationAssociation)bestpractice
Aseparatetradingcompany(StPeter’s award
TradingPartnership)wasestablishedto
generateanincomeforthecharity,aiming • BecomingISO9000compliant
toeventuallymakeitself-sufficient.Three
enterprises(allcompanieslimitedby
guarantee)operatewithinStPeter’sTradingPartnership:
•Greenscape –aprofessionallandscaping,gardeningandprojectmanagementservice,
whichofferson-the-jobtrainingopportunitiestolocalunemployedpeople
•EnterprisePlus –providingtrainingtoincreaseresidents’skillstogetthembackto
work,andfurtherdevelopingandpreparingthemforworkbybuildingconfidenceand
providingexperiencethroughvolunteeringandworkplacements.Tailoredpre-
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recruitmentservicesandarangeofspecialistcoursesarealsoprovidedtosupportboth
employersandprospectiveemployees.
•Safeguardit–anaward-winningcommunitysafetyandsecurityserviceinpartnership
withGreaterManchesterFireandRescueService,whichalsoprovidesvolunteeringand
employmentopportunitiesforlocalpeople
InadditiontoClydeHouseBusinessCentre,StPeter’sPartnershipsalsomanagesthe
followingassets:theRichmondSuite,CavendishMillResourceCentre,HolyTrinity
CommunityCentre,AshtonWestEndDoorstepGreen,theBlandfordCentre,TrinityMoss
MillenniumGreen,OxfordParkPavilionandWestEndhockey/cricketfacility.
Whathavebeenthekeyturningpoints?
Reviewingtheorganisation’saimsandobjectivesin2006wasakeyturningpoint,whichled
toarestructuringoftheorganisationandbusinessmodel.Inturnthisresultedin:
•Thecreationofmorestructuredoperations
•Aredefinedfocusleadingtothecreationofaclearandsharedvisionforthefuture
•Changefrombeinganorganisationrunningprojectstoanorganisationdelivering
services
•Windingdownofprojectsandservicesthatwererunningatalossdespiteappearing
successful
•Achangeofstaffingandleadershipandtheestablishmentofapoolofemployeesthat
canbedrawnintoworkflexiblyacrossarangeofservices,ratherthanasspecific
projectmanagers.
Winningaseriesofawardsalsohelpedtoraisetheorganisation’sprofilelocally,regionally,
andnationally.
StPeter’sPartnershipshashadtoadapttoandmanagechange,ataskithasbeenassisted
inby:
•Havingahighlycommittedteam,manyofwhomhavebeenpartoftheorganisation
foralongtime.Theyhavegrownanddevelopedarangeofrelevantskillsandhave
gainedsignificantexperienceofcommunityenterprise
•Havingstrongleadershipatboardandseniormanagementlevel
•Buildingasolidreputationandanoutstandingprofilelocally,regionallyandnationally
•Remainingambitiousforthelocalareaandbeingseentobecompetitiveonprice,
qualityandtimescale
•Awillingnesstotakerisks
•Renewingandrefocusingtheorganisation’sactivitiesatregularintervals.
Whathavebeenthekeyenablersandbarrierstosuccess?
Havingstrongleadershipandanumberoftheoriginaltrusteesstillontheboardwas
consideredcriticaltotheorganisation’ssuccess.Thesewerethekeydrivingforcesbehindthe
initialmissionandwiththeirstronglocallinksthepeopleinvolvedhaveaclear
understandingofcommunitydevelopment.Havingalocalstaffandvolunteershasgivenan
additionalsenseofpurposeandenablespeopletoseeandfeeltheimmediatebenefitofthe
organisation’sactivities.Movingawayfromgrantsasacoresourceofincomeandbecoming
moreindependentfromthelocalauthoritywereseenastheessentialelementssupporting
theorganisation’ssuccess.
Whilenon-financialresources,suchasknowledge,financialmanagement,community
engagementandpartnershipdevelopmentwereratedhighly,alackofcoreinfrastructure
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andstafftodeveloptheorganisation’soperationswasconsideredamajorbarrier.Onestaff
membersaid:‘Wearespreadtoothinly,withtoomuchwork,withtoolittlefinancialresource
overtooshortatimescale’.
Aneedforfundingtocovercoreinfrastructuredevelopmentwashighlighted–eitherfrom
grantsorbyamendingtermsofcontracts,sothattheyincludeinfrastructurecostsrather
thanprojectdeliveryalone.Thetermsofcontractswereseenasbarrierspreventingsocial
enterprisesfromestablishingastrongerfoothold,whichleavesStPeter’sPartnershipswith
considerablefinancialchallengesdespitehavinga£2millionturnover.StPeter’sis
disappointedthatinspiteofitssuccess,itisstillnotfullycoveringthecorecostsofthe
organisation.Thismeansitdoesnothavethetimeorcapacityforactivitiessuchasfinding
itsowntheme-specificmentors.
Assessingsupportneedsandaccess
ThekeyareaswhereStPeter’sPartnershipshasneededsupporthavebeen:
•Organisationaldevelopment
•Operationalsystems
•Financialmanagementprocedures
•ITsystemandinfrastructure
•Understandingscale
•Gettingaclearpictureandasenseofplace
•Networkingandmentoringopportunities,includingknowledgetransfer.
Ithasmixedexperienceofworkingwithlocal,regionalandnationalsupportagenciesand
funders,oftenfindingthesestakeholderstohaveapoorlevelofskillsandknowledgeofkey
topicsandthemesandofthecommunityandsocialenterprisesectoringeneral.The
experienceofinteractingwiththemwasoftenfrustrating:‘Agenciesseesignpostingasa
formofsupport,whenoftenthiscanturnouttobeinappropriateandtimeconsuming.’
Morepositively,StPeter’sfeltthatsomeorganisationshad‘steppeduptothechallengeof
providingsupport’.TheseincludedthelocalCouncilforVoluntaryService,SocialEnterprise
NorthWestandtheDevelopmentTrustsAssociation.Inspiteofsomeusefulsupporton
offer,ithighlightedthatfindingthetimetoengagecanbedifficultwhentherearemore
pressingpriorities.ToolsandprogrammesithadengagedwithincludedTheSparkChallenge,
whichitthought‘hadausefulbusinessdevelopmentprogramme,pitchedattherightlevel
withgoodtools’.Also,neuro-linguisticprogramming(NLP)traininghadbeendeliveredand
foundtobeavaluabletoolforstaffdevelopment.
Asignificantproportionofitsservicedeliverycomesthroughrelationshipsandcontractswith
thelocalauthority.StPeter’sconsiderslocalauthoritiesaretooboundbytargetsand
outputs.Theymayalsolacktheambitionandentrepreneurialflairorexperiencetobeable
todevelopsuccessfulcontractingopportunitiesforvoluntarysectororganisations.Itfeltlocal
authorityprocessesoftenhinderthedevelopmentofsocialenterprisesandthatitiswrong
toexpectcommunitygroupsandorganisationstorunservicesandmanagesignificant
amountsofmoneywithouttheexperienceorappropriateinfrastructuretofullydeliveror
understandtheirresponsibilities.However,itfoundthatitslocalauthorityhadgreatly
improvedovertime,wasstartingtolistenandhaddevelopedgoodprinciplesforpartnership
working.
StPeter’sfeltithadabroadnetworkofmentors,themajorityofwhomithadfoundand
developedrelationshipswithindependently.Mentorscamefromarangeofbackgrounds,
includingacademic,thematicmentors,andpeer-to-peermentors.Italsoclassedsomeofthe
consultantsithaddevelopedstrongworkingrelationshipswithasmentors.However,itwas
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consideredhardtogetthetimeandresourcestoaccessmentorsandinformationabout
otherrelevantsupport.
Areaswhereitwouldliketoseesupportimprovedincluded:
•Bettertrainingforthesupportsectorandlocalauthorities: Supportagencies,funders
andlocalauthorityofficialsmustbeproperlytrainedandunderstandcommunityand
socialenterprisedevelopmentandthistrainingneedstobemaintained.
•Fundingthecore:Buildingfullcostrecoveryintocontracts,enablingcommunityand
socialenterprisestogeneratesurplusesorofferinggrantsforoperationaldevelopment
wereallseentobewaystoputorganisationsonamorestablefooting.
• Improvecontracting: Procurementteamsshouldbeencouragedtosimplifytendering
processessothatcontractopportunitiesaremoreaccessible.Thiswouldhelptobring
newmoneyintothesector.StPeter’sPartnershipswaskeentoemphasisethatmonies
thatusedtogotothesectorasgrants–butwhicharenowdistributedascontracts–
havenotbroughtnewincomestreams.Stepsshouldalsobetakentoensurecontracts
gototheorganisationofferingthebestoutcomesforthe
beneficiaries/communities/serviceusers,whichshouldbeevidencedthrough
appropriateevaluationandreview.
•Consistent,qualitysupportfornewandestablishedcommunityandsocialenterprises:
Meaningfulsupportisneeded,tocreatecontinuityandsustainability,ratherthan
simplyfocusingonhittingtargetsandoutputs.Practicalbusinessdevelopment
knowledgemustbedeliveredbypeoplewhounderstandthevarietyoftrades
operatingunderthebannerofsocialenterpriseandhavepracticalenterprise
experience.Thisway,supportisaimedatdevelopingsocialenterprisestoapoint
wheretheycancreateasurplustocovercorestaff.

Casestudy2:FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrust

Location: Speke,GreaterMerseyside
Ageoforganisation: 10years,althoughFiveChildrenandFamiliesTrustachieved
charitablestatusin2006asSureStartSpeke,rebrandingin2008toreflectthewider
rangeofservicesbeingdeliveredbythecharitabletrust.
Legalstructure: Onecompanystructurewithasecondsoontobeformed(company
limitedbyguaranteewithcharitablestatus,thesecondwillbeacompanylimitedby
guarantee)
Annualturnover: £1.2million
Staff:43
Boardmembers: 6

Background
FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrustisthelegacyofSpekeSureStartProgrammewhichwas
developedthroughSpekeGarstonSingleRegenerationBudget(SRB)partnership.Thechief
executiveinitiatedanddevelopedtheforerunnertothisventurein1999whentheSureStart
LocalProgrammeestablishedin2000operatedfromStAmbrosePresbyteryintheunused
housekeeper’sflat.Itformedasacompanylimitedbyguaranteein2001andrelocatedin
2004toanewfamilycentrefundedbySureStart,ERDFandtheNewOpportunitiesFund.
Theaimsoftheorganisationhavealwaysbeentoworkwithchildrenandfamiliestoimprove
healthandwellbeing,educationalactivitiesandaspirationsandtoimprovetheemployability
ofthelocalpopulation.IthasbeenworkingtomeettheneedsoutlinedintheDepartment
forChildren,SchoolsandFamilies’EveryChildMattersframeworktoimprovequalityoflife
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andopportunitiesforall,focusingspecificallyonthethemesofeducationwithcare,family
support,teenagepregnancy,nutrition,domesticabuseandviolenceinthehomefromyoung
people.
SpekeGarstonisanisolatedareaontheedgeofLiverpool.Theareasuffershighlevelsof
unemploymentandworklessness;alltheLSOAsintheareaareinthebottom10percentfor
England,andmostareinthebottom1and2percent(accordingtotheIndexofMultiple
Deprivation2007).Thepopulationispredominantlywhite.
Howdoestheorganisationlooktoday?
In2006acompany-widereviewtookplace
andsome‘painful’decisionsweretakento FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrust’s
restructuretheorganisationasitmoved proudestachievements
awayfromanaccountablebody • Beingindependent
arrangementwithitslocalRegisteredSocial
• Maintainingapostforafull-time
Landlord.Atthispointthecompany
midwifetotackleteenagepregnancy
becamecharitableandrebrandedin2008
asFiveChildrenandFamiliesTrust,a • Beingabletodeliverhospitalservices
companylimitedbyguaranteewith locally
charitablestatusdeliveringchildcare • EnablingJobCentrePlusandthelocal
services,employabilityservices,health JobsEducationandTrainingServiceto
services,youngpeople’sservicesandacafe. doubletheirestimatedtargetsto
TheTrustisalsolandlordtocompatible supportpeoplebacktotrainingand
serviceswhichincludeSpekeAdviceService employment
(CAB),LiverpoolWomen’sHospitalTrust
andLiverpoolPrimaryCareTrust,Health • Continuouslyprovidingvalueformoney.
VisitingService.
Inadditionasuccessfulcookeryandnutritionprojecthasevolvedintoacommercialcookery
schoolfroma£15,000grantin2007toanorganisationwithapredicted£320,000turnover.
TheCanCookStudiowillbecomeacompanylimitedbyguaranteewhichwillreinvestsurplus
profitsbacktoFiveChildrenandFamiliesTrust.Ithashadsignificantsponsorshipfrom
BellingandendorsementfromcelebritychefSimonRimmer.
ThemainactivityoftheTrustismanaginganddevelopingtheChildrenandFamilies’Centre
andservices.Awiderangeofevents,activitiesandservicesarerun.Thecentreiscommunity
ownedandledandistheonlyfullyindependentcentreinLiverpoolofferingservicesfor
ages0–19.Servicesinclude:
•Managementofa74-placechildcarefacility
•Youthpoint,acomprehensiveyouthserviceworkingwithyoungpeopletopromoteand
supporttheirpersonaldevelopment,socialeducation,healthandwellbeing
•FiveParentPlus,committedtoempoweringparentstoimprovetheirlivesandthelives
oftheirchildrenbyenablingpeopletoachieveeconomicwellbeing.
Whathavebeenthekeyturningpoints?
Theorganisationidentifiedthreemajorturningpoints:
•SecuringtheSureStartcontractcreatedamajorstepchangefromrunningaseriesof
communityactivitiestomanaginganddevelopinganewcentre.
•Acompany-widereviewin2006forcedtheteamtolookindepthattheability,
effectivenessandsustainabilityoftheorganisationandenabledsomedifficultchanges
tobemade.Thisincludedsignificantchangesatboardlevel,andashifttoamore
enterprisingbusinessmodelandawayfromgrantdependency.
•ThedevelopmentoftheCanCookStudiohasstartedtobringinsignificantrevenue
andhelpedtocreateahighprofilefortheorganisation.
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Therehavebeenanumberofkeychallengesthathavefacedtheorganisation,including:
•Overcomingtheisolatingnatureofthelocalgeography,tocreatestrongpartnerships
andstronginternalandexternalnetworks.
•Developingproductsandserviceswhichcanbetakenoutoftheareatoearn
additionalincome,giventhehighlydeprivednatureofthelocalcommunity.
•Evidencingimpact;FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrusthaveputinplacearangeof
measurestodemonstrateimpact,includingindependentauditors,academicresearch,
communityresearchanddatacapturerequiredforgrantsandcontracts.TheTrustis
notwhollyinfavourofSocialReturnonInvestment(SROI)measuresandtools.
Whathavebeenthekeyenablersandbarrierstosuccess?
Keydriversoftheorganisation’ssuccesswereidentifiedas:
•Creatingahighprofileandnotholdingbackonpublicationsandmarketing
•Havingsurvivedlongenoughforpeopletotakeaninterest
•Runningtheorganisationasabusiness
•Notbeingafraidtochallengeorbechallenged
•Reallyknowingandunderstandingthelocalcommunity.
Themostimportantenablerswereregardedas:
•Reshapingtheorganisationinresponsetothecompany-widereviewandboardrestructure
•Movingtoamoreenterprisingbusinessmodel
•Retainingapassionformeetingtheneedsofthecommunityandcontinuous
communitydevelopment.
SomesignificantbarrierstotheTrust’sdevelopmentwereidentified.Inaway,itssuccesswas
sometimesregardedasabarrier,withonepersoncommenting:‘Iffundersseeorganisations
beingtooenterprisingtheywonderwhytheyneedtheirmoney.’
Ithasalsofeltheldbackbythepublicsectorlackingentrepreneurialspirit,visionandbeing
overlyrisk-averse.Decisionmakers,theTrustfound,sometimeslacktheinformationand
abilitytodotheirjobs,which‘resultsinpeoplebecomingagitatorsratherthanactivists’.
ForanumberofyearsFiveChildrenandFamiliesTrustlackedsufficientcorestafftosupport
thechiefexecutive.Thissituationhasimproved,butoverstretchingcommitted,capable
leadersandmanagersremainsakeybarriertoorganisationalsuccess,andonethatcan
damagethephysicalandmentalhealthofstaff.
Assessingsupportneedsandaccess
FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrustidentifiedkeyareasforsupportas:
•Needingmoreinfrastructureandoperationalstaff
•Learningtounderstandthesectorandthematicareasitworksacross,including
legislation(e.g.aroundyoungpeople,healthandsafeguarding)
•Uncoveringandapplyingstaff’sentrepreneurialabilities.
IntheTrust’sexperience,thesupportonofferisnotofsufficientquality.Itfoundlocal
authorityofficerssometimeslackunderstandingofthesituationontheground,andofthe
localcontextandthechallengescommunityandsocialenterprisesface.Ithasoftenfound
fundersandlocalauthoritiestobeoverlybureaucraticandresistanttochallenge.
Itdid,however,seeimprovementinthepracticesandlevelofsupportfromthelocal
authority.Butthefeelingwasthatwhilewhatusedtobecalledgrantsarenowincreasingly
22 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

beingreferredtoas‘contracts’,inpractice Whatdothetermscommunityand
thisisjustachangeinterminologyandhas
socialenterprisemeantotheTrust?
notbroughtnewmoneyintothesector.
‘Webelievewestraddlethedefinitions.We
TheTrusthasactivelysoughtout areanenterprising,community-led
opportunitiesforsupportanddevelopment, organisationcreatingwide-rangingsocial
linkinginwitharangeoflocalnetworks impact.However,wewillalwayslookfor
includingtheSocialEnterpriseNetworkand grantswhereappropriate–giventhelevel
SocialEnterpriseNorthWestandhas ofdeprivationofourclientgroupwewould
highlightedtheworkoftheDevelopment bedaftnotto.’
TrustAssociation,which,itsays,‘has
providedusefulresourcesandnetworking
opportunities.Theirrigorousmembership TheTrust’sthreetoptipstohelp
processfeelsasthoughitmeanssomething communityandsocialenterprises
andtheymakeadonationorcontribution 1)Neverlosesightofyouroverallgoaland
foryourtimewhenpeoplevisitforlearning aims
anddevelopmentpurposes.’
2)Surroundyourselfwithcriticalfriends
TheTrusthasalsosoughtoutarangeof
thematicinformation,hasreceivedsupport 3)Makesurethecommunitywantswhat
fromChildAdolescentMentalHealth youareoffering.
Services,andhasattendedthematic
conferences.Mentorsfeaturehighlyinits
supportstructure;theseincludelocalpeersandpeopleworkinginthehealth,youth,
regenerationandcommunitysectors.Usefulmentorshavealsobeenfoundthroughthe
SchoolforSocialEntrepreneurs.
TheTrustisfortunatetohavewhatitconsidersstrongboardmemberswitharangeof
expertiseincludingstrategicdevelopment,enterpriseandfinancialplanningaswellasan
independentauditorwhohasbecomea‘criticalfriend’,atrustedsourcethatcanofferadvice
andfeedbackontheworkoftheorganisation,andaskdifficultquestions.
FiveChildrenandFamiliesTrusthighlightedthreeareasfordevelopingthesupportonoffer
tosocialandcommunityenterprises:
• Sector-specificandthematicmentoring: Developingabankofwellqualifiedthematic
mentorsandadvisers(forexamplepeoplefromsocialandcommunityenterprises
workinginparticularfields,suchashealth,environment,childrenandyoungpeople)
andpaidbuddies/advisorstohelppeopleunderstandhowtodeveloptheir
organisationmorequicklythroughknowledgetransfer.
• Developamoreentrepreneuriallymindedpublicsector: Throughthedeliveryof
supportandtrainingtothepublicsector,enablethemtobetterunderstandcommunity
andsocialenterprise,businessmodelsandriskmanagement.
•Accessiblefundersandcommissioners:Fundersandcommissionersneedtobeless
bureaucraticandunderstand,aswellasrespondto,theneedsofcommunityandsocial
enterprises.
23 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Casestudy3:ClaytonBrookCommunityHouse

Location: ClaytonBrook,Preston
Ageoforganisation: 13years
Legalstructure: registeredcharity
Annualturnover: £10,000
Staff:nonepaid;20volunteers
Boardmembers: 14

Background
Amotorwaydevelopmentprotestin1994createdtheimpetusforthisproject.Arangeof
communityideasstartedtoemergetoimprovethelocalareaandafoodco-opwas
establishedsellingfruitandvegetables.ClaytonBrookCommunityHousewasformedin
1997,inresponsetoalackofcommunityfacilitiesandaccessibleservicesinthearea.A
numberoforganisations,includingafamilycentre,psychiatriccareworkers,thefoodco-op
andacommunitygroupinitiatedtheprojectwithsupportfromalocalhousingassociation,
PlacesforPeople.Theinitialprojecttookoverthreeadjoiningpropertiesbetween1997and
1999,allowingtheprojecttoexpandtodelivercounsellingandvarioustrainingcourses.The
projectdevelopedthroughsponsorshipand
supportinkind,aswellsomesmall-scale ClaytonBrookCommunityHouse’s
charitablefunding.Trainingprogrammeswere proudestachievements
deliveredthroughaEuropeanSocialFund • Havingcommittedvolunteers,some
grant. ofwhomhavebeenwiththe
ClaytonBrookCommunityHouseislocatedin organisationfor10years
Clayton-le-Woods,avillageinbetween • Individualachievementsofmembers
ChorleyandPreston.Thevastmajorityofthe ofthecommunity
populationiswhiteandoverhalfareaged
over45.AlthoughClaytonleWoodsisnot • Havingagoodreputationforhelping
rankedamongthemostdeprivedwards,ithas peoplewhohavenoqualificationsto
poorlevelsofhealthservicesandahighcrime startlearninginasafeand
rate.Theaimoftheorganisationisto‘offera convenientlocallocation,with60
helpinghanduptheladderoflife’,improving percentgoingontofurther
communitywellbeingandproviding educationorfull-timeemployment.
communitysupportanddevelopment.
Howdoestheorganisationlooktoday?
ClaytonBrookCommunityHouseprovidesavenueforlocalpeopleandgroupstomeet,
givesassistancetostart-uporganisationsandactsasaresourceforthewholecommunity.It
isopenfivedaysaweek,andcontinuestoexpanditsopeninghours.Theservicesrely
entirelyonvolunteersandinclude:
•Ateaandcoffeebar
•Aresourcecentreprovidingatelephone,photocopier,fax,andhelpwithform
completion,CVwritingandlettertyping
•Weeklyactivitiesandevents
•Afreecounsellingservice
•Outreachdrop-inservices.
Itiscurrentlydevelopingofficeservicesforlocalbusinessestoo.
Theorganisationissustainedbykeepingoverheadslow,havingnoemployeesandbringing
inanumberofsmallgrantstocoverrunningandprojectcosts.Additionalrevenueisraised
throughlocalactivities,roomrental,beveragesalesandofficeservices.
24 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Whathavebeenthekeyturningpoints?
Turningpointsfortheorganisationincludesecuringsignificantfundingandotherresources,
andachangetotheorganisation’smindset:
•Securinginkindsupportforpremises
•SecuringEuropeanSocialFundmoneyforarangeofcommunitytraining,although
provisionhassubsequentlybeenscaledback
•Introducingcounsellingserviceswithlow-levelfundingfromthelocalhealthauthority
•Decidingtomaketheorganisationmoreenterprising,includingplansfortheprinting
enterprise.Enterprisewillalsobeatthecoreofotherfutureserviceexpansions,such
asdeliveringtrainingcourses(paidandsubsidised)aswellasplanstotakeoveran
adjacentbuildingandconvertitintoamorecommercialorientatedfacilityoffering
holisticcounsellingandacraft/healthfoodshop.
Therehavebeenanumberofchallengesthattheorganisationhashadtoovercomealong
theway,including:
•Havingnopaidstaff,althoughthathasresultedinflexibilitywhichhasmadevarious
transitionspossible
•Havingtodeveloprelationshipstoenablethemtochangetrainingdeliveryproviders
•Securinggrantfundingtodeveloptherightmixoffreeandnotfreeservices
•Volunteernumbersbeingaffectedbyaloneparentsback-to-workprogramme.
Whathavebeenthekeyenablersandbarrierstosuccess?
ClaytonBrookCommunityHouseidentifiedthekeyenablersofitssuccessas:
•Effectiveteamwork
•Consistentleadershipcentredonapassionforpeople,withactivelocalpeopledriving
theorganisationforward
•Strongrelationshipsforlong-termassistanceandin-kindsupport.
Itconsideredthecommitmentofitsgeneralmanagertogrowandsustaintheservicestothe
communitythemostcriticalfactorinitssuccess.
Theorganisationhasalsofacedanumberofbarriers,including:
•Timecommitmentsofvolunteersandvolunteer-ledleadership,whichresultsin
constraintsinsomeareas
•Lackoffinancestogrowandlackoftimetofindfinancialresources
•Aninsufficientlevelofoperationalandbusinessacumenandrequiredtrainingto
createatrulysustainablebusinessmodel.
Assessingsupportneedsandaccess
ClaytonBrookCommunityHouseidentifieditskeysupportneedsas:
•Fundingforexpansionofassetsandservices
•Financialplanning
•Businessdevelopmentsupport
•Howtorecruit,manageandmaintainvolunteers
Itconsidersthesetohaveremainedthesameovertime,althoughtheneedbecomesgreater
withgrowth.Itexpectsfinancialplanningandstrategicdevelopmenttobeskillsgapsasthe
organisationgrows.
25 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Theorganisationhasreceivedsupportfrom Whatdothetermscommunityand
local,regionalandnationalorganisations.It
socialenterprisemeantoClayton
hasparticipatedincommunitydevelopment
Brook?
trainingandsupportaswellasleadership
training,butthiswasnotlinkedintolocal ‘Anorganisationwithinacommunity,run
socialenterprisesupport.Ithasalsosought bythatcommunity,tofulfilthe
adviceandbackingfromlocalbusinesses. communities’holisticneeds.’
Developingtheserelationshipsand
partnershipshasresultedinpro-bonoandinkindsupportaswellassignificantsponsorship.
ClaytonBrookhashadmixedexperienceofworkingwiththelocalauthorities,andhasfound
consistencyandcontinuityaproblemwithstaffchanges.
Traininginhowtosustainandgrowasocialenterprise,providedbysuccessfulsocial
entrepreneurs,wasthoughttobeausefulmeansofsupport.Italsothoughtthatsupportto
conductareviewofitsoperations,toidentifyareasofweaknessandgrowthpotential,would
helptoshapetheorganisation’sdevelopment.Ahands-onapproachwasdeemedmost
appropriate,wheresupportisbasedondirectknowledgeofthecommunityandenterprise
needs.Itshouldbeactionorientedandincludeone-on-onementoringfromsuccessfulsocial
entrepreneurs.

Casestudy4:Nentheadvillageshopandpostoffice

Location: Nenthead,nearAlston,Cumbria
Ageoforganisation: 5years
Legalstructure: IndustrialandProvidentSociety
Annualturnover: £150,000
Staff:4.5full-timeequivalents
Boardmembers: 104shareholdersandsixrotatingcommitteemembers

Background
Nentheadvillageshopandpostoffice’s
TheNentheadvillageshopandpostoffice
proudestachievements
wasinitiatedinAugust2006followingthe
closureoftheonlyshopinthevillage.A • Fromasocialperspectivetheshopis
smallgroupofcommunitymemberssaw wellusedbytheelderlyresidents,
theneedtoreducepeople’sisolation, offeringaplacetomeet,peopletochat
maintainaretailoutletforfoodand withandassistandareasontoleave
provisions,andcreateafocalpointand theirhomes.
gatheringplaceforthecommunity.Atthe • Thefactthatthebusinessisstillgoing
timetheonlyotherplaceforpeopleto strong,issupportedbythecommunity,
meetwasthepuborinthenearesttown hasincreaseditsproductandservice
whichisfivemilesaway. deliveryandturnedasurplusinonly
Theintentionfromtheoutsetwasforthe oneyearhasshownexceptional
shopandpostofficetobeasocial management.
enterprise,andaCooperativeSocietyfor
theBenefitoftheCommunity(‘Bencom’)wasestablished.ItcameintobeinginNovember
2007andhasgrownintermsoftheproductsandservicesitofferseversince.Theoriginal
projectwasfundedbyCumbriaCountyCouncil,aloanfromVersaandthemoneyraisedby
theCooperativeshareoffer.Thistotalledaround£70,000andenabledthefoundersto
procurea99yearleaseandbeginrefurbishmentofthepremises.Theshopbuildinghasa
historyofbeingacornerstoneofthecommunity:itwastheoriginallendinglibrary,
developedbytheLondonLeadCompanyformedbyQuakerindustrialistsin1704.
26 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Nentheadwasoneofthefirstpurpose-builtindustrialvillagesinEngland.Itisarural,
isolatedvillageintheEdenareaofCumbria.Thepopulationispredominantlywhiteandolder
inage.Nentheadisnotadeprivedcommunityalthoughitdoesfacebarriersintermsof
accesstohousing,transportandservices.
Howdoestheorganisationlooktoday?
Thevillageshopaddedthepostofficeandnowoffersawidearrayoffoodandconsumable
goodstothecommunityatpricesthatareoftencompetitivewiththesuperstores.Itoffers
variousservices,includingspacetosimplymeet,chatorread.
Movingforward,theshophopestoraiseaquarterofamillionpoundstopurchasethe
disusedchurchoppositeandofferaffordablehousing,trainingfacilitiesandacafé,tobuild
uponthelocalamenitiesavailable.
Whathavebeenthekeyturningpoints?
IncreasingthescaleofitsambitionwasidentifiedasakeyturningpointforNentheadvillage
shopandpostoffice:
•Theshoprealiseditwaslimitedbythesizeofthebuilding,notbythepopulation.This
resultedinplansforgrowth,includingdevelopingnewservicesatanewsite,a
proposeddeliveryserviceandthepotentialtosellonline.
•Itenabledtherangeofservicesonoffertogrowinlinewiththeneedsofthe
community,inspiteofdifficultiesitcanfaceasasmallretailoutlet.
Theshophasbecomefinanciallysustainableveryquickly,buttheorganisationhashadto
overcomeanumberofchallengesandadapttochange:
•Thebusiness,whichwasinitiallygrantfunded,isnowsustainable,soonlyrequires
additionalfundingformorepremisesandincreasedservicedelivery.Thishasrequired
hardworkanddedicationfromtheteam.
•Initially,itwasdifficulttofindsuppliersofgoods,butasturnoverincreasedthiswas
nolongeranissue.Currentlygoodscomefromlocalandnationalsuppliers.
Whathavebeenthekeyenablersandbarrierstosuccess?
Nentheadvillageshopidentifiedanumberofenablerstoitssuccess,including:
•Settingfinancialtargets
•Businessadvicefromvarioussources
•Ensuringtransparencyandaccountability
•Havingcleargoals.
Itregardstransparencyandaccountabilityasmostcriticaltoitssuccess.Theseareseento
haveledtotheestablishmentoftrustwithinthecommunityandregularusebythe
residents.Themanagementstructureenablesdaytodayoperationaldecisionstobemade
quicklywiththemanagementcommitteeconsultedonmajorstrategicissues,andpeople
involvedintheventurearewellknownandrespectedwithinthecommunity.
Barrierstheshophashadtoovercomealongthewayinclude:
•Thereluctanceoflargesupplierstoworkwithcommunityconcerns;building
appropriaterelationshipsandatrackrecordhastakentime
•Lackofstoragespace
•Tryingtofindcashforexpansion,whichhasheldupplans.
27 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Assessingsupportneedsandaccess
Nentheadvillageshopandpostofficeidentifiedtwokeysupportneeds:
•Sourcingandapplyingforgrantsandloans
•Findingbusinessmentorsfromoutsidethecommunity.
Theorganisationhaslinkeduptoawiderangeoflocalsupportwithinboththevoluntary
sectorandlocalauthoritiesandhashadapositiveexperience.Ithasalsohadsignificant
supportfromthePlunkettFoundationbywayofgrants,mentoringandinformationon
governanceandsocialauditing.Supportorganisationswerehelpfulduringstart-upandwith
generalbusinessprinciplesandidentificationofpotentialconstraints.However,theneedfor
quality,practicalbusinessadvicehasincreasedastheorganisationandturnoverhavegrown.
Ithasalsosoughttonetworkwithandlearnfromlocalsocialenterprises.Itsboardhas
broughtarangeofpracticalskillstothetableincludingintheassistanceinrefurbishmentof
theoriginalpremisesanditsongoingmaintenance.
Nentheadvillageshopandpostofficethinksakeysupportareafordevelopmentisaround
mentoringforcommunitysocialenterprisesinsitubySMEbusinessownersandsocial
entrepreneurs,toenabledirectknowledgetransferandpracticaladvice.
Itwouldalsoliketoencourage:
•Fundingforstart-upswithmoresimpleaccountingandreportingprocedures
•Mentorsthatunderstandthesectorandthecommunityissueswhicharemobileand,
wherepossible,local
•Thedevelopmentofgrantstosustaingrowth.

Casestudy5:BubbleEnterprises

Location: Stockport,GreaterManchester
Ageoforganisation: 3years
Legalstructure: Communityinterestcompanylimitedbyshares–maximum£1share
profitperyear
Annualturnover: £350,000
Staff:6
Boardmembers: 3

Background
BubbleEnterprisesisaservice-user-ledcommunityinterestcompany,establishedin2008to
providebusinessexpertiseandsupporttoindividualsandorganisationsinthementalhealth
field.ItemergedinpartnershipwithWTP(amanagementconsultancythatspecialisesin
supportingnewventures),asaresultofthesuccessoftheLaughingBuddhaBubble
Incubator,aPhoenixFundprojectbackedbytheDepartmentofHealthandtheformer
DepartmentofTradeandIndustrytoexplorehowenterprisecouldbenefitmentalhealth.
BubbleEnterprisesworkslocally,regionallyandnationally,butthemajorityofitsactivity
takesplaceintheNorthWest.Itskeybeneficiariesarepeoplewithmentalhealthissuesand
theircarers.Itaimstocreatesustainableinitiativesandtraining,employmentand
volunteeringopportunitiesledbyserviceusers.
Itusesenterpriseasawayofreconnectingpeoplewiththeirskills,experienceandpassions
aspartoftheirrecovery.Italsoaimstohelphealthprofessionalsandsupportstafftobetter
understandthepositiveimpactthatenterpriseandemploymentcanhaveaspartofa
person’srecoveryfrommentaldistress.
28 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Howdoestheorganisationlooktoday? BubbleEnterprises’proudest
BubbleEnterprisesworksinpartnershipto achievements
createsocialenterprisesinaprofessional
•Creatingpaidworkforsixcore
andlong-term,sustainableway.Itsrangeof
membersofstaffwithintheBubble
servicesincludes:
teamandsevenpaidstaffatthe
•Enterpriseengagementandtraining,to OasisBubbleCafé:‘Overhalfofour
improvebusinessskillsandpersonal staffareserviceusersorcarers’.
developmentofmentalhealthpatients,
•Creatingover20volunteering
carersandprofessionals
opportunitiesandenabling
•Consultancyservicesinenterpriseand unemployedvolunteerstomoveinto
socialenterprisedevelopment paidemploymentbothwithinOasis
BubbleCaféandbeyond.
•Enterprisecreation,whichprovides
hands-onsupporttodevelopnew •Developinganexcellentreputation
businessopportunitiesthrough withclientsandbeneficiaries
partnership resultinginarangeofreferralsand
repeatbusiness.
•Cafédevelopment,deliveryand
management.ForexampletheOasis •Punchingaboveitsweightasaresult
BubbleCafélocatedinSteppingHill ofstrategicpartnerships,
MentalHealthHospitalwasdeveloped commitmentandapassionforthe
inpartnershipwithStockportCouncil sector.
andPennineCare.OasisBubbleCaféis
•Beingtheserviceproviderofchoice
acommunityinterestcompany,
formanyorganisationswithinthe
providingemploymentforsevenpeople
community.
withmentalhealthproblemsand
putting40percentofitsturnoverback
intothementalhealthcommunitythroughitsstaffingandsupplychain.
•SupporttothestrategicdevelopmentofthementalhealtharenaintheNorthWest,
throughresearch,consultationandanannualconference.
Whathavebeenthekeyturningpoints?
TheprincipleturningpointwaswhenBubblelaunchedarevenue-producing,sustainable
business,allowingacommunityinterestcompanytobeformed.Thatgrewaservice-user-led
board,actedasacatalysttonewbusinessandenhancedthecompany’scredibilityand
sustainability.Otherturningpointswereidentifiedas:
•Governmentpolicyaroundmentalhealthservices,theworklessnessagendaand
procurementhaveofferedopportunitiesandcontractsforthegrowthofthe
organisation.
•GainingfundingandsupportfromtheTudorTrustin2009enabledtheorganisationto
growtheteamtodevelopnewbusinessanddevelopmultipleincomestreams,
includinglargecontracts,small-scaleconsultancy,managementfeesandeventfees.
•GainingasignificantcontractwiththeStrategicHealthAuthorityenabledittodevelop
initiativeswith10healthandsocialcareorganisationsacrosstheNorthWest.
•Anoperationsmanagerpostwascreatedin2010,enablingtheorganisationtotighten
itsprocessesandstrengthenitscoreinfrastructure.
Thesmallsizeoftheteam,itsexpertiseandflexibilityhasenabledtheorganisationtobe
opentonewworkandprojectsandtorespondquicklytochange.
Whathavebeenthekeyenablersandbarrierstosuccess?
Anin-depthknowledgeofthesectorandthecommunity,aclearlyarticulatedvisionand
formingstrategicpartnershipsareseenaskeyenablersofsuccessforBubble.The
29 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

organisationidentifiedthreefactorsasmostimportant:
•Havingastrongentrepreneurialteamwithbroadnetworks
•Keepingsmallandefficient,tobeabletoadaptquicklyandbereactivetoneed
•Havingserviceuserinvolvementfromboardtostafftovolunteerlevelmeansthey
‘walkthetalk’.
BubbleEnterpriseshasalsoencounteredanumberofbarrierstoitsgrowth,mostnotablythe
lackofhumanresourcesandfinanceneededforoperationalexpansion.Thishasprovedto
beaparticularstrainwhenBubblehastenderedforandwoncontracts,duetothe
monitoringandreportingprocessesthatarefrequentlyinvolved.
Ithasalsofoundthelackofenterpriseculture,awarenessandabilityinthewidersectorand
thepublicsectorhasbeenadouble-edgedsword.Ononehandithascreatedworkand
partnershipopportunitiesfortheorganisation,butontheother,publicandvoluntarysector
organisationshaveoftenneededagreatdealofsupportandnurturingtoengagethemin
enterprisecreationanddelivery.Bubble’senterprisingnaturehasalsocausedsuspicionin
somequarters,despitetheorganisation’ssocialcommitmentbeingclearandaccountable.
Assessingsupportneedsandaccess
Bubbleidentifiedanumberofkeysupportneeds:
•Financialbackingandresource
•Businessadvice
•Team-buildingandthesharingofindividualskillsets
•Understandingandimplementingappropriatelegalstructures.
Bubblehasacquiredmuchofthesupportithasneededtooperateandgrowfromitsboard,
whichincludesexperiencedentrepreneursandmentalhealthprofessionals.Asaresultithas
notoftenengagedexternaltrainingandsupportagencies.Ofthetrainingandsupport
opportunitiesithasused,itfoundtheinformationtobepitchedtoolow.Theyhave,
however,providedusefulnetworkingopportunities.
BubblehashadapositiveexperienceofworkingwiththeTudorTrust,whoitfeelshadalight
touchapproachtomonitoringandreportingbackonfunding.However,theexperienceof
applyingforfundingforsignificantcapitalexpansionhasprovedverytime-consumingand
frustratingasaresultofslippingtimescales,alackoffeedbackandlackofclarityonthe
specificsofwhatfundersarelookingfor.
Itfoundlocalauthoritiestobeusefulsourcesofinformationandpartners,although
accessingtherightpeoplehasbeencrucialinordertogetdecisionsmadeandfindout
aboutopportunities.ThishasrequiredBubbletosearchoutmoreenterprisingofficersand
directorsasunderstanding,supportandapproachabilityhavenotbeenwidespread.
TheBubbleEnterprisesteamhasarangeofmentors,primarilydrawnfromitsboard
members,partnersandanetworkofassociatesworkingacrossenterprise,socialenterprise,
health,regenerationandcommunitydevelopment.Astheorganisationhasgrown,itbelieves
itsneedforexternalsupporthasdecreased,andtherenowexistsaninternalabilityto
managegrowthandcompetewiththelargerplayersinthesector.
BubbleEnterprisesthinkstherearethreeareasfordevelopingthesupportavailabletosocial
andcommunityenterprises:
•Businessdevelopment:Througharrangingbusinessintroductionsintoorganisations
andagenciesthatcanbenefitfromtheservicesofsocialandcommunityenterprise,
alongwithregularnetworkingeventsbringingtogetherpublicsectororganisationsand
socialentrepreneurs.Itwasalsothoughtthatpracticalsupportonhowbusinesses
growandsessionstohelpsocialenterprisesunderstandtheirtradewouldbehelpful.
30 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

•Coreinfrastructuredevelopment:Akeyissueiforganisationsaretohavethe
organisationalcapacityrequiredtoenablethemtogrowandmanagelargecontracts.
Pumpprimingfundingtosupportcoreinfrastructuredevelopmentwasthoughtuseful.
Improvedlocalisedbudgethandlingmightalsohelptoensureagreaterunderstanding
ofneedsatalocallevel.Thiscouldalsobesupportedthroughcollaborationwithinthe
sector,withmoreestablishedorganisationsprovidingbackofficesupporttoother
organisations,includingHR,payrollandadministration.
•Improvementofprocurementprocesses: Contractscanprovideakeyrouteto
sustainability,buttheprocurementprocessneedstobereviewedtoensurethresholds
arenotexcludingpotentialbiddersandtenderdocumentsandreportingprocessesare
simple.Allowingaproportionofthemoneytobepaidupfrontandcoveringcostslike
holidayandsickleavetoensuresocialandcommunityenterprisesarenotsubsidising
thepublicsectorarebothimportant.

Sectionsummary
Anumberofcommonthemescanbeidentifiedfromthesecasestudies:
•Thevalueoforganisationalreview: Mostofourcasestudieshighlightedan
organisationalreviewasakeyturningpointontheirjourneytobecomingasuccessful
enterprise,andenablingthemtofulfiltheirambition.
•Transitiontoenterprise:Securingasignificantcontractwasacatalysttomostofour
casestudiesmakingthetransitionfromacharitableorganisationtoanenterprising
organisation.
•Astrongteam: Allourcasestudiesemphasisedtheimportanceofthepeoplearound
themtothesuccessoftheirenterprise.Thisextendednotonlytostaffandvolunteers,
buttoboardmembersandmentorstoo.Astrongleaderwithaclearvisionwas
consideredveryimportant.
•Networking,marketingandprofile: Havingstrongnetworkswithotherorganisations
andapositiveprofilewithkeystakeholderswasimportantforalltheseorganisations.
Formanythisinvolvedaproactiveapproachtomarketingbothservicesandthe
organisation.
•Supportneeds:Ourcasestudyintervieweestendedtobenegativeaboutthesupport
providedbyorganisationslikeBusinessLink,regardingitasnotfororganisationslike
theirs.Theyweremorepositiveaboutsupportprovidedbyothervoluntarysector
agencies,butwantedtoseemorespecialistsupport,forexampletargetedata
particularsector,suchaschildcare.
•Localauthorities: Havingagoodrelationshipwithalocalauthoritywasregardedas
veryimportant,althoughaperceivedlackofentrepreneurialspiritandahighdegreeof
riskaversionamonglocalauthoritieswasseenasabarriertosupportingenterprise.
•Procurementandcommissioning: Mostofourcasestudiesregardedprocurementand
commissioningasessentialtotheirsustainability,butproblemswereexperiencedwith
publicsectorprocurementpractices.
31 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

3.Resultsfromtheonlinesurvey
Tosetthiscasestudyresearchinabroadercontext,wealsocarriedoutanelectronicsurvey,
whichwasopentoallsocialandcommunityenterprisesintheNorthWestofEngland.Over
100respondentsfilledinthesurvey.Whilethereisnoeasywayofdetermininghowfar
surveyrespondentsarerepresentativeofthewidersocialandcommunityenterprisesector,
thisisagoodsamplesizeandsomeinterestingpatternsandtrendscanbedetected.In
particular,theresultsindicatesomeinterestingfindingsaboutthenatureandoriginsof
communityenterpriseorganisationsintheNorthWest,andraisesomechallengingquestions
aboutthediversityoffundingandsupportaccessedbyrespondents.
Beforeexploringtheseissuesinmoredetail,weprovideaquickoverviewoftherespondents
tothesurvey.

Profileoftherespondents
Thesurveywasdistributedbyanumberoforganisations,includingumbrellaorganisations
forsocialenterpriseandcooperativesintheNorthWestofEngland.Respondentscamefrom
101differentorganisations,94percentofwhich,whengiventhefollowing,standard
definitionofasocialenterprise,identifiedthemselvesassuch:
Socialenterprisesarebusinesseswithprimarilysocialobjectiveswhose
surplusesareprincipallyreinvestedforthatpurposeinthebusinessor
community.
Mostorganisationsalsodefinedthemselvesasacommunityenterprise,agreeingthatthe
followingdefinitiondescribedtheirorganisation:
Acommunityenterprise[is]atypeofsocialenterprisethatservesa
particulargeographiccommunity.
Seventy-onepercentofourrespondentsagreedthisstatementdescribedtheirorganisation,
while21percentansweredsaiditdidnotand6percentthattheydidnotknow.

Figure3.1.
Legalstructure 80%
oforganisation 70%
respondingto
60%
thesurvey
50%
Note:morethan
oneoptioncould 40%
beselected 30%
20%
10%
0%
Industrial & Provident Society for

limited by shares
Community Interest Company

Sole trader
Company Limited by Guarantee

Friendly society
Registered charity

Unincorporated association

Company Limited by Shares

Industrial & Provident Society


limited by guarantee
Community Interest Company

as a cooperative
benefit of the community
32 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Organisationswereoverwhelminglycharitiesandcompanieslimitedbyguarantee,withfew
organisationswithotherlegalstructuresresponding.Anyspecificsupportneedsofthose
organisationswillnotbereflectedinthefindingsofthissurvey.
Therespondentswerequitediverseintermsofthesizeoftheirturnoverandage,
suggestingagoodcrosssectionoforganisationsrespondedtothesurvey–seeFigures3.2
and3.3.

Left:Figure3.2.
Howmanyyears More than More than No income (0)
theorganisations 20 years Less than 1 £500,000 £1 – £10,000
year
havebeen
running 1-2 years
Right:Figure3.3.
Approximate £10,001 -
£25,000
annualturnover 11-20
fromallsources years £100,001 - £25,001 -
3-5 years £500,000 £50,000
£50,001 -
6-10 years £100,000

AfurtheraspectofCLG’sdefinitionofcommunityenterpriseisthattheyareoftenrunby
thepeoplethattheyserve.Weaskedourrespondentshowtheyinvolvedthecommunityin
theworkoftheirorganisation.Onlyoneorganisationdidnotinvolvethecommunityintheir
work.Themostcommonwaytoinvolvethecommunitywastoprovidevolunteering
opportunities,closelyfollowedbyhavingrepresentativesfromthecommunityontheboard
andconsultingwiththecommunityoruserstoestablishneeds.Overall,overhalfof
respondentssaidtheyinvolvedtheircommunityinthedesignanddeliveryofservices,
althoughthiswassomethingthoseidentifyingthemselvesascommunityenterpriseswere
morelikelytodowhencomparedtothosenotidentifyingthemselvesasacommunity
enterprise.

Figure3.4.How 90%
respondents 80%
involvethe 70%
communityin 60%
theirwork 50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Representatives of the community
on the Board

None
Other
Provide volunteering opportunities for

Employee ownership
Consult with community / users to
establish needs

Involvement of the wider community /

Involvement of the wider community /

users to influence decisions of the board


Membership organisation
community members / users

users in service design

users in service delivery

Forum for members of the community /


33 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Criticalfactorsforsuccess
Weaskedrespondentstoidentifytheirtopthreeenablersandbarrierstosocialand
communityenterprises.Therewasconsiderableagreementthatpeoplewerethemost
importantenabler,alongwithgrants.Figure3.5splitstheresponsesintothosefrom
respondentswhoidentifiedthemselvesascommunityenterprisesspecificallyandthosethat
didnot.Overallthereisconsiderablesimilaritybetweentheanswers.However,thosesocial
enterprisesnotidentifyingthemselvesascommunityenterprisesweremorelikelytohighlight
cashflow/liquidity,businesssupportandprocurementskillsandknowledgeaskeyenablers.

Figure3.5.
C o m m u n ity e n te rp ris e s N o t co m m u n ity e n te rp ris e s
Topthree 50
enablersto
45
socialand
community 40

enterprise
35

% 30

25

20

15

10

0
and volunteers)

Business support (e.g.


Management committee

Investment finance
Grant for revenue

Grant for capital


People (e.g. employees

opportunities

Local authorities

knowledge
Beneficiaries /client /

Cash flow / liquidity


or board

Accommodation

PR / marketing skills and

Procurement skills and


Skills / training and
development

Consumer understanding

Government regulation
knowledge

and policy
Procurement

advice)
community

of social enterprise

Figure3.6.
Community enterprise Not community enterprise
Topthree 35
barrierstosocial
andcommunity 30

enterprises
25

20
%

15

10

0
knowledge
board
volunteers)

Business support (e.g. advice)


Consumer understanding of
Investment finance
Grants for revenue

Management committee or
Grants for capital

Local authorities

Procurement opportunities
Cash flow / liquidity

Beneficiaries/client/community
PR / marketing skills and

Procurement skills and

Accommodation
People (e.g. employees and

Skills/training and
Government regulation and

knowledge
development
policy

social enterprise
34 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Thesurveyalsoaskedresponentsaboutthebarrierstheyfaced(seeFigure3.6above).Again
therewasconsiderableagreement,withfinancialissuesinoneformoranother(eithercash
flow/liquidity,grantsforrevenueorgrantsforcapital)chosenmostfrequentlyasthemain
barrier.Butagain,whenthefiguresarebrokendownaccordingtowhetherornot
respondentsidentifiedthemselvesasacommunityenterprise,someinterestingdifferences
emerge,withbusinesssupportandprocurementskillsandknowlegdefarmorelikelytobe
selectedbyorganisationsthatdonotidentifythemselvesascommunityenterprises.Thismay
indicatethattherespondentsidentifyingthemselvesascommunityenterprisesarelesslikely
tobeengagingintradingactivities,somethingthatisreinforcedwhenwelookattheresults
ofthequestionsabouthoworganisationsarefinanced.
Financeandothersupport
Nearlyallofoursurveyrespondents(93percent)hadsoughtfundinginthelast12months,
withmostseekinggrantfunding,donationsorresourcesfrompublicsectorsources,suchas
localgovernment,quangosorthroughtheBigLotteryFund.Fewhadusedloans,overdrafts
orcommunitydevelopmentfinancialinstitutions(CDFIs),asFigure3.7shows.Nosignificant
differencesemergewhenthesefiguresarebrokendownintothoseorganisationsthat
identifiedthemselvesascommunityenterprisesandthosethatdidnot,suggestingthateven
thesmallnumberofnon-communitysocialenterprisesthatrespondedtothesurveywere
notaccessing‘usual’businessfinance.Indeed,theformofsupportallorganisationswere
mostlikelytoseekisgrantfunding.Itwouldappearthatoursurveyrespondentsareheavily
dependentonthepublicsectorfortheirincome,andhaveapreferenceforgrantfunding,
whichcouldplacetheminaprecarioussituationinthenextfewyears.
Thesurveyalsoaskedabouttheformsofsupport(advice,guidance,signposting,training
andsoon)thathadbeensought.Overall,peopleweremostlikelytoturntoother
individualsworkinginthevoluntarysectorforadviceandsupport,closelyfollowedbyalocal
socialenterprisenetwork,localauthorityorcouncilforvoluntaryservices(CVS)or
equivalent.(Figure3.8below.)
Figure3.7. 80%
Typeoffinancial
supportsought 70%
byrespondents
inthelast12
60%
months

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%
Loan from a Community

Don’t know
Grant

Funding from other government

Bank overdraft
Funding from local government

Share issue
Haven’t sought finance in the
Other
Donations

Funding from the lottery

Loan from family/business

Selling land/buildings
Bank loan

Development Finance Institution


Charity/voluntary organisation
body

partner/directors

last year
35 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Figure3.8. 70%
Wheresupport
60%
hasbeensought
50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%
Individuals working for other third

Co-operatives North West


Business Link
Local Social Enterprise Network

Service or equivalent

Community Matters
Consultants
Local authority

Other government agency

Other business advice

Development Trust Association


Social Enterprise Coalition
Council for Voluntary
sector organisations

service providers
Figure3.9. Community enterprise Not community enterprise
Wheresupport 40

hasbeensought 35
–community
andnon- 30

community 25
enterprises
% 20

15

10

0
Other business advice

Co-operatives North West


Business Link
Local Social Enterprise Network

Consultants

Community Matters
Local authority

Other government agency

Development Trust Association


third sector organisations

Social Enterprise Coalition


service providers
Council for Voluntary
Individuals working for other

Service or equivalent

However,someconsiderabledifferencesemergewhentheresultsarebrokendownby
communityenterprisesandnon-communitysocialenterprises,asFigure3.9shows.
Respondentsthatdidnotidentifythemselvesasacommunityenterprisewerefarmorelikely
toseeksupportfromBusinessLinkandothersupportproviders,ororganisationslikethe
DevelopmentTrustsAssociatationorSocialEnterpriseCoalition.Organisationsthatidentified
themselvesascommunityenterprseswerefarmorelikelytoturntovoluntarysectorsources
ofsupportorlocalauthorities,suggestingtheseorganisationsmayhaveaparticularly
importantroletoplayinsupportingcommunityenterprises.
Respondentsweregenerallyfairlysatisfiedwiththesupportavailabletotheirorganisation,
particularlywithregardtohavingopportunitiestonetworkwithotherorganisations,share
relevantinformationandaccesstraining.Areashighlightedaslesssatisfactoryincluded
accesstolegaladvice,marketingandPRadvice,opportunitiestoworkwithother
organisationstoinfluencelocaldecision-makingandsupporttobidsforcontracts.(Figure
3.10below.)
36 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Figure3.10.
Howsatisfied Network with other
respondentsare organisations

withthe Share relevant information


support
Access training
available
Apply for funding

Work together with other


organisations to deliver services
Find people (employees,
volunteers)
Business planning

Grow your organisation

Have space to operate


(e.g. office space)

Access marketing and PR advice

Work with other organisations


to influence local decisions

Financial management

Find trustees/management
committee

Access legal advice

Identifying efficiencies/savings

Bid for contracts

0 20 40 60 80 100

Don’t know Very dissatisfied Fairly dissatisfied


Fairly satisfied Very satisfied

Figure3.11.
Organisational 45%
rootsof 40%
respondents’
35%
organisations
30%

25%

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%
enterprise

Public sector
An individual

Another social

Co-operative
Community

Charity
trading
organisation

business

Don’t know
Private
group

New
37 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Organisationalorigins
Someofthedifferencesbetweenthegroupsofrespondentsmaybeexplainedbydifferences
inorganisationalorigins.Themajorityofourrespondents’organisationshadtheirrootsina
communitygroup(42percent)and/orwereneworganisations(31percent).(Figure3.11
above.)
However,whentheseresponsesarebrokendownbycommunityandnon-community
organisations,thedominanceofcommunitygroupsgrows,asFigure3.12shows.Non-
communityenterprisesweremorespreadacrosstherangeofoptions.

Figure3.12.
Organisational Community enterprise Not community enterprise
40
rootsof
respondents’ 35
organisations–
communityand 30

non-community 25
enterprises
% 20

15

10

Public sector
An individual

Another social

Co-operative
Community group

Charity trading

Private business

Don’t know
New organisation

enterprise

Thesurveyalsoaskedwheretheorganisations’start-upfinancehadcomefrom.Forthevast
majority(60percent),agranthadprovidedthestart-upfinance,whichwasthecasefor
communityenterprisesandothersalike.(Figure3.13.)

Figure3.13.
70%
Whenyour
60%
organisation
began,where 50%
didtheinitial 40%
resourcecome 30%
from? 20%
10%
0%
Donations

Guaranteed contract
Grant

(e.g. public sector)

Loan
Don’t know

Seed-corn funding
from another organisation

Transfer of assets from


public sector
38 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Thisunderlinestheimportanceofgrantfinance,asindicatedintheresponsestothe
questionsaboutwhereorganisationshadsoughtfinance,andwhatrespondentsconsidered
themostimportantenablersandbarrierstosocialandcommunityenterprise.

Sectionsummary
Althoughwecannotdeterminehowfarsurveyrespondentsarerepresentativeofthewider
socialandcommunityenterprisesector,the101responsesrevealsomeinterestinginsights:
•People(humancapital)andaccesstofinancewerehighlightedaskeyenablersof
socialandcommunityenterprises,althoughthoseorganisationsthatdidnotidentify
themselvesascommunityenterprisesweremorelikelytohighlightcashflowand
liquidity,businesssupportandprocurementskillsandknowledgeasbeingimportant.
•Organisationsweremostlikelytoseekfundingthroughgrantsandthroughthepublic
sector,withthemajorityofrespondentshavingsoughtfinancialsupportfromthese
sourcesinthelast12months.Veryfewhadsoughtloansorotherformsofbusiness
finance.
•Socialandcommunityenterprisessoughtsupportindifferentplaces.Community
enterprisesweremorelikelytoseeksupportfromotherthirdsectororganisationsor
localauthorities;thosenotidentifyingthemselvesascommunityenterpriseswere
muchmorelikelytoseeksupportfromspecialistsocialenterprisesupportproviders
andorganisationslikeBusinessLink.
39 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

4.Theviewfromsupportprovidersandlocalauthorities
AswellasengagingwiththevoluntarysectorintheNorthWest,wealsosoughttheviewsof
asmallnumberofstakeholderswithresponsibilityforsupportingsocialandcommunity
enterprises.Theseincludedleadlocalauthorityofficers,regionalagenciesandinfrastructure
organisationsprovidingsupporttosocialandcommunityenterprises.Theinterviewswere
semi-structuredandconductedonthebasisofanonymity,toenablepeopletobecandid.
Theyexploredanumberofkeyissues:
•Interviewees’understandingoftheterm‘communityenterprise’
•Theplaceofsocialandcommunityenterpriseinlocalandregionalpolicies
•Thecriticalsuccessfactorsforcommunityandsocialenterprise
•Supportavailabletosocialandcommunityenterprises,andanygapsinprovision.

Understandingcommunityenterprises
Intervieweeswerefamiliarwiththeterm‘communityenterprise’,althoughprecisedefinitions
varied.Mostregardedcommunityenterprisesasorganisationsthatservedparticular
geographicalcommunities(ratherthancommunitiesofinterest),andmanysawthemas
synonymouswithcommunitydevelopmenttrusts.
However,therewasasensefromsomethatcommunityenterprisesweresomehowless
‘professionalised’thanothersocialenterprises.Ifacontinuumisimaginedwiththevoluntary
andcommunitysectoratoneendandprivatesectorenterprisesattheother,community
enterpriseswereregardedasbeingnearertovoluntaryandcommunitysectororganisations,
whilesocialenterpriseswereseenasclosertoprivatesectorenterprises.Oneinterviewee
capturedthisideainthefollowingway:
Ifsocialenterprisesarecommercialorganisationswithasocialmission,
thencommunityenterprisesarecommunityorganisationswithasocial
missionthathastoadapttoacommercialmodelinordertosurvive.
Anumberofintervieweesconsideredcommunityenterprisetobearelativelyrecentaddition
tothelexiconofthevoluntarysector,andexpresseddoubtathowhelpfulitistointroduce
anothernewtermintowhatisalreadyregardedasapoorlyunderstoodarea.

Theplaceofsocialandcommunityenterpriseinlocalandregionalpolicies
Intervieweesfromboththeregionalandlocallevelswerekeentohighlighttheimportance
to,andtheirgrowingawarenessof,socialandcommunityenterpriseintheirwork.
SocialenterprisehasbeenhighlightedbytheNorthWestRegionalStrategy(RS2010)asa
priorityareainordertoreleasepotentialandtacklepovertyintheregion.Thedraftstrategy
proposesdevelopingaworldclasssocialenterprisesector;supportingparticipationinpublic
sectorprocurementandcommissioningbyensuringthevoluntarysectorcompactisadhered
to,andadoptingapositiveapproachtosocialenterprise,especiallymutualsand
cooperatives,throughsupportmechanismssuchasthoseprovidedbyBusinessLink.
AsoutlinedinSection1,anumberofprojectsandpilotsareinplacetoprovidesupportto
thesocialenterprisesectorintheNorthWest,drawinginfundingfromtheRegional
DevelopmentAgency,Capacitybuilders,theOfficeoftheThirdSector(nowtheOfficefor
CivilSociety)andtheEuropeanRegionalDevelopmentFund(ERDF).Importantamong
theseistheoutreachworkbeingpilotedbyBusinessLinkinMerseyside,whichisparticularly
focusedoncommunityenterprise,andthetrainingof‘socialenterprisechampions’within
BusinessLink.TheNorthWestDevelopmentAgencyhasalsosignalledaninterestin
providingtargetedsupporttosocialenterpriseswithgrowthpotential,andtheprogrammeis
inthefinalstagesofdevelopment.
40 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Atthelocallevel,intervieweeswereawareofsocialandcommunityenterprisesandvalued
theirwork,particularlyinareaslikehealthandsocialcare,socialhousing,community
regenerationandtacklingclimatechange.Therewas,however,somevariationinpoliciesand
strategiestosupportenterprises,withsomeauthoritiesdevelopingspecificvoluntarysector
orsocialenterprisestrategies(seeBoxes4.1and4.2,belowandnextpage).Butevenin
localauthoritieswherestrategieswereinplace,awarenessofsocialenterprisediffered
betweencouncildepartments,withsomemoreawareofandsigneduptostrategiesthan
others.Itwasdescribedasaslowprocessofwinningpeopleover.
Foronelocalauthority,thecentralfocusofitseconomicdevelopmentworkisboosting
enterprise,withsocialandcommunityenterpriseexplicitlyrecognisedashavingaroleto
play.Supportonofferincludedidentifyingaspirantentrepreneursanddeliveringenterprise
(socialorotherwise)start-upgrantsofupto£500tospecificdeprivedcommunities.
Anotherlocalauthorityhadidentifiedassettransferasakeymeansofdeveloping
communityenterprises.Ithaddevelopedaprogrammeofcommunityfacilityassettransfer
withcommunitydevelopmentactivities,inordertobuildthecapacityofcommunity
organisationstomanageassetsandusethemtogenerateincome.Theauthorityregarded
thetransferassetswithoutbuildingincommunitydevelopmentasunsustainable.

Box4.1.Liverpool–understandingandsupportingsocialenterprise
InLiverpoolresearchhasbeenconductedtoassessthesizeofthesocialenterprisesector,
withanestimated280socialenterprisesidentified,ofwhich170havesignificantlevelsof
trading(theaverageleveloftradingincomeis45percentofturnoverandrising).The
turnoverwithinthesesocialenterprisesisaround£75mannually,andtheyemploy2000-
pluspeople.
Thecitycouncilhasauditeditscommissioningandprocurement,andfounditspends
around£11mannuallypurchasinggoodsandservicesfromsocialenterprisesviaaround
70separatecontracts.Thefigureof£11mrepresentsaround0.6percentofthecouncil’s
budget.Amajorinitiative,theMerseysideSingleProcurementVision,istryingtoincrease
levelsofcontractingwithsocialenterprisesinthemunicipal,healthandhousingsectors.
Therehavebeenexamplesofcontractsbeingsplitinordertomakethemmoreobtainable
forsmallbusinessandsocialenterprise.
Socialenterpriseplaysanimportantroleinthecouncil’seconomicdevelopmentactivities,
andenterprisestart-upgrantsareavailabletoentrepreneursintargeteddeprived
communities.
Someotherlocalsupportprojectsinclude:
• TheLiverpoolSchoolforSocialEntrepreneurs,whichinitsinitialphasewillassist45
aspiringsocialentrepreneursandcreate15fullytradingsocialenterprises
• TheLiverpoolAcademyofSustainableEnterprise,assisting240peoplemanaging
socialenterprisestowinmorecontractsandimproveoperations.

Thecriticalsuccessfactorsforcommunityandsocialenterprise
Interviewees’viewofthecriticalsuccessfactorsfororganisationstendedtofocuslessonthe
organisationalissueshighlightedbythesocialandcommunityenterprisesthatparticipatedin
ourresearch.Theissuethatsupportprovidersandlocalauthoritiesregardedasbyfarthe
mostimportantwasfinancialsustainabilityandhavingdiversesourcesofincome.For
intervieweesthismeantastrongfocusondevelopingabusinesscaseandincomestreams.
Manyvoicedfrustrationattheideathatsocialandcommunityenterprisesshouldbe‘notfor
profit’,arguingthattheyshouldbeaimingtomakeaprofitinordertobesustainable.What
41 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Box4.2.TamesideMetropolitanBoroughCouncildraftsocialenterprisestrategy
–identifyingandfillinggapsinsupport
Theobjectivesofthestrategyare:
• Topromoteanddevelopawiderunderstandingofsocialenterpriseanditsbenefits
acrosstheborough
• Toincreasethenumber,size,andsustainabilityofsocialenterprisesinTameside
• Todesignandprovidesuitablesupportinterventionsasrequiredbysocialenterprises
inTameside.
Keygapsinsupportpriortostart-upareidentifiedas:
• Notenoughcommunitydevelopmentsupporttobuildawarenessofsocialand
communityenterprise
• Alackofinformationabouttradingandincomegenerationalternativesand
opportunities
• Alackofadviceandguidanceoncorporatestructures
• Limitedavailabilityofpre-start-upfunding
• Lowlevelsofcapacityandself-confidenceinthelocalcommunity
Supportgapsintheearlydaysofabusinessare:
• Insufficientintensive,long-term,businessdevelopmentsupport
• Insufficientspecialistsocialenterprisebusinesssupport
• Insufficientrevenuefundingtosupportthefirsttwoyearsofoperation
• Lackofflexibleandcredibletrainingprovision.
ThestrategyproposesthedevelopmentofaSocialEnterprisePartnershiptobring
togetherthelocalauthoritywithsupportprovidersinordertoreduceduplicationand
increasecoordinationofsupport.

differentiatessocialandcommunityenterprisesfromotherenterpriseswaswhattheydowith
theirprofit.
Beingbusinessmindedwasseenascentraltosuccess,andthiswasinterpretedasbeing
hard-headedaboutwhatanenterprisedoes,includingceasingactivitiesthatarebeing
deliveredataloss,unlesstheyaredeliberatelyandconsciouslybeingcross-subsidised.
Goodcoreorganisationalfunctionswerehighlightedascriticalforsuccessbysome
interviewees,withaparticularfocusonfinancialmanagement,marketing,procurement
andnetworking.Liketheorganisationsthatcontributedtothisresearch,interviewees
emphasisedtheissuewasaccesstoskillsratherthannecessarilyholdingalltheseskillsin
house.Thisextendsthequestionofskillsbeyondjustanorganisation’semployeesand
volunteers,toincludetheirboardmembers.Theimportanceofhavingaclearvisionand
missionthatiswidelyunderstoodandconfidentlycommunicatedwasalsohighlightedas
criticalforsuccess.
Finally,owningorbeingabletomanageanassetinawaythatgeneratesprofitwas
highlightedascrucialbysomeinterviewees.However,oneexpressedconcernthattoooften
localauthoritiesweretryingtooffloadliabilitiesratherthanassets,andpassingthemto
organisationsthatdonothavesufficientcapacitytomanagethem,anddonotinvolvethe
widercommunityintheiractivities.
42 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

Supportingsocialandcommunityenterprises
Evidencesuggeststhatthesupportneedsofsocialenterprisesdonotdiffergreatlyfrom
thoseofprivatebusiness.However,thelanguageusedinthedeliveryofsupportisdifferent
andadvisersneedtobesympathetictothesocialorenvironmentalaimoftheorganisation.
Ifthisistrueforsocialenterprises,intervieweesconsideredittobedoublysoforcommunity
enterprises.Thiswasthoughttobeparticularlyimportantinthestart-upphaseandearlylife
ofanenterprise.Atthisstage,supportmightbemoreappropriatelydeliveredbyvoluntary
sectororganisations,ratherthanmainstreambusinesssupport.
Theinterventionsrequiredtohelpindividualsororganisationspriortostart-up,andthe
assistancerequiredbyyoungcommunityenterprisesinordertomoveon,wereconsidered
relativelysimple.Forexample,opportunitiestonetwork,adviceondevelopingstrong
organisationalproceduresandadviceonissueslikemarketingandbuildingapublicprofile
werehighlighted.Mostintervieweeswereoftheviewthatthereissufficientsupportand
fundingavailabletosocialandcommunityenterprises;thekeyissueisensuringpeopleare
awareofwhatisavailableandhowtoaccessit.Themultiplicityofprovisionwasseento
resultinalackofcoordinationandcomplexity,andthisisanareawheremoreworkneedsto
bedone.
Anumberofsuggestionsweremadeforincreasingthenumberofsocialandcommunity
enterprises.Targetedpre-start-upsupportforindividualentrepreneursandgroupsof
entrepreneurswasthoughttobeimportant,alongwithproactivelypromotingsocialand
communityenterpriseasavehicleforimprovinglifeindeprivedcommunities.Toachievethis,
aprogrammeofcapacitybuildingandcommunitydevelopmentwasthoughtnecessary,
particularlyinareasthatare‘socialenterprisedeserts’.Itwassuggestedthatinsomecases
groupsofindividualswiththeskillstoleadtheestablishmentofsocialandcommunity
enterprisesshouldbetargeted,suchasretiredprofessionalslivinginorneartodeprived
communities.
Somespecificsupportneedsofsocialandcommunityenterprisesindeprivedcommunities
werehighlighted.Gettingpeoplewiththerightskillsontheboardandthemanagement
teamwasconsideredtobeaparticularchallengeinsomeoftheseareas.Accesstofinance
canalsobeanissue,giventhebarrierstodevelopingastrongbusinesscase,and
organisationsmayneedtofindwaysofsellingservicesorproductstootherareastoo.
Exampleswereofferedoforganisationsstrugglingtosecurebankingservices,creditand
accessingbigsuppliers.
Onthepositiveside,enterprisesindeprivedcommunitieswerethoughttobenefitfromreal
passionandadesiretoseechange.However,thiscanbebeatenoutofpeopleiftheyare
notgivensupporttodevelopintotherole.
Accordingtoallourinterviewees,thekeyareawheresocialandcommunityenterprisesneed
supportisinachievingsustainability,whichwasregardedasstillbeingsomewayofffor
someaspiringsocialandcommunityenterprises.Akeychallengeishowtogetorganisations
intoapositionofbeing‘enterpriseready’.Morespecialistsocialenterprisesupport,training
andmentoringopportunitieswereallhighlightedasareasfordevelopment.
Anumberofintervieweesrecommendedseed-cornfundingavailableateitherthepre-start-
upstage,orwhenanorganisationismakingthetransitionfromcommunityorganisationto
enterprise.Itwasthoughtthisfundingshouldbeintheformoftime-limited,one-offgrants,
andspecificallyusedtomoveorganisationsontoanenterprisefooting.Thiswasseenasa
wayofgettinganenterpriseoffthegroundwhileitkeptitseyefirmlyonenterpriseactivity.
Onceanorganisationisestablished,localauthorityprocurementandcommissioningwere
regardedaspivotaltosecuringsustainablesocialandcommunityenterprises.But
intervieweeswereawareofanumberofbarriers,includingtheneedtosplitcontractsto
makethemmoreaccessibletosocialandcommunityenterprisesthatarenotlargeenoughto
43 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

delivertoanentirelocalauthorityarea,andtheneedtosimplifyprocesses.Providing
trainingtocommissionerssotheybetterunderstandsocialandcommunityenterprise,and
makinguseofsocialbenefitclauses,werethoughttobeofpotentialbenefit.

Sectionsummary
Whilelocalauthoritiesandotherpublicsectorbodiesareoftencriticisedfornot
understandingsocialandcommunityenterprise,ourintervieweesdemonstratedagrowing
levelofunderstandingandcommitment.Anumberoflocalauthoritiesandotherpublic
sectororganisationshaveundertakenworktobetterunderstandsocialandcommunity
enterprisesintheirareaandhaveidentifiedstepstodevelopandworkwiththem.
Intervieweeshighlightedsomekeyissuesfacingsocialandcommunityenterprisesandsome
potentialareasformoreaction:
•Diversifyingincomestreamsandsecuringsustainableenterpriseswasseenasthemost
pressingchallenge.Beingmoreenterprise-minded,andstrivingtomakeaprofit(in
ordertoreinvestit)wasviewedascritical.
•Intervieweesgenerallythoughttherewasalotofsupportavailabletosocialand
communityenterprises–thechallengeisknowinghowtoaccessit.
•Targetedsupportandproactiveinterventionstogrowthenumberofsocialand
communityenterpriseswereseenaskeyareasfordevelopment.
•Localauthoritiescanplayakeyroleinthisthroughtheprovisionofseed-corngrant
fundingtohelporganisationsbecome‘enterpriseready’.Simplecommissioningand
procurementprocesseswereconsideredvitalonceenterprisesareestablished,toopen
upcommissioningtomoresocialandcommunityenterprises.Theincreasingsizeof
contracts,andknowledgeandunderstandingofcommissioningofficerswere
highlightedaschallengesinthiscontext.
44 ipprnorth|GrowingtheBigSociety

5.Conclusionsandrecommendations
Therearemoresimilaritiesthandifferencesbetweencommunityandsocialenterprises;
nonetheless,thisresearchprojecthasidentifiedsomeimportantareasofdivergence.
Communityenterprisesarewidelyregardedashavingrootsin–andmeetingtheneedsof–
aparticular,identifiablegeographicalcommunity.Theyarelikelytobemulti-purpose
organisations,meetingavarietyofneedsinonearea.Whilethisisalsotrueofsomesocial
enterprises,itisadefiningfeatureofcommunityenterprise.
Communityenterprisesalsooftenhavetheirrootsinthevoluntaryandcommunitysector,
andseemtobemorelikevoluntaryandcommunitysectororganisationsincharacter.Social
enterprisesontheotherhandweregenerallyconsideredbyparticipantsinthisprojecttobe
larger,morespecialistorganisationsthatareclosertotheprivatesectorinthewaythey
operate.Thisdistinctionisnotinkeepingwiththeofficialdefinitionsofcommunityand
socialenterprise.However,itseemstobeonethatcarriesrealmeaningformostofthe
organisationsengagedwiththisresearch.
Theideathatcommunityenterprisesaremorelikevoluntarysectororganisationsis
reinforcedbythefindingsofthesurvey,withorganisationsidentifyingthemselvesas
communityenterprisesmorelikelytohavetheirorganisationaloriginsinavoluntaryor
communitysectororganisation,ortobeaneworganisation.Perhapsevenmoretellingis
whereorganisationshavesoughtfinanceinthelast12months.Thisquestionrevealsan
inconvenienttruthforpolicymakerslookingtooutsourcemoretothevoluntarysector:it
showsthevastmajorityofsurveyrespondentssoughtfinanceintheformofgrants,anda
tinyminoritysoughtwhatmightbeconsidered‘mainstream’businessfinance,loansor
contracts.Itseemsenterprise-readyorganisationsthatarelookingtocontractwiththepublic
sectorareinshortsupply.
Forsomeorganisations,beingacommunityenterprisemayprovetobeatransitionalpoint
onajourneytobecomingasocialenterprise.Butthisisnotthecaseforallorganisations,
andformany,theirgrowthpotentialisconstrainedasaresultofservingahighlydeprived
community.Thislimitstheirrevenueearningpotential,althoughasourcasestudies
demonstrate,aninnovativeapproachcanbringinrevenuefromoutsidetheimmediatearea.

Whataretheprospectsforcommunityandsocialenterprise?
Therearemanyreasonsforsocialandcommunityenterprisestobecheerful.Firstand
foremost,asourcasestudiesdemonstrate,therearesomeexcellentsocialandcommunity
enterprisesintheNorthWestdeliveringhighqualityservicestotheircommunities.
Furthermore,socialandcommunityenterpriseissquarelyonthenewgovernment’sagenda,
withtheCoalitionAgreementplacingparticularemphasisonsocialenterprise,
neighbourhoodworking,mutualsandcooperatives.TheprecisedetailsoftheGovernment’s
‘BigSociety’willbecomeclearerastimegoeson,butthemessagessofarsoundpositivefor
socialandcommunityenterprise.Thisresearchalsoshowslocalauthoritiesareincreasingly
awareandsupportiveofsocialandcommunityenterprise.Mostofourcasestudies
highlightedimprovementintheirrelationshipwiththeirlocalauthority(althoughsometimes
fromalowbase),andourlocalauthorityintervieweesemphasisedthegrowingrecognition
oftheimportanceofsocialandcommunityenterpriseinmanylocalauthoritiesacrossthe
NorthWest.
Thatsaid,therearesomechallengesclearlyvisibleonthehorizon.Onekeyobstacleisthe
cutstopublicsectorbudgets.Manyofoursurveyrespondentsarereliantonthepublic
sectorfortheirincome,oftenintheformofgrants.Evensomeofourcasestudy
organisationswouldfinditdifficulttofulfilsomeoftheirfunctionswithoutgrantaid.There
isrealconcernthatsupporttosocialandcommunityenterprise–andthevoluntarysector
morebroadly–willbeanareaforcuts,aslocalgovernmentdiscretionaryspendingis
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reduced.Alreadythereisconcernedtalkwithinthesectorabouttheimplicationsof‘3/11’–
March2011–whenmanyexistinggrants,serviceagreementsandcontractsaresettoexpire,
creatingsomethingofafundingcliffedge(Coxetal2010).Untilmorefleshisputonthe
bonesoftheBigSocietyandthefundingstreamsthatwillsupportit,thisremainsan
uncertaintimeforsomecommunityandsocialenterprisesandthevoluntarysectormore
broadly.
Thereareproblemstoofororganisationsthatarecontractingwiththepublicsector,asthe
driveforefficiencycreatespressureforeverlargercontractsinordertoachieveeconomiesof
scale.Thisisaseriouschallengeformanyvoluntarysectororganisationslookingtodiversify
intopublicsectorcontractingastheyarelesslikelytohavethecapacitytocompeteforsuch
contracts.Furthermore,thereisariskthatsocialandcommunityenterprisesareseenasa
cheapalternative,whenwhatisneededisadefinitionofavaluethatencompassessocial
benefitandsustainableinvestment.
So,itwouldseemthereissomethingofagapbetweentheexpectationsofthe‘BigSociety’
andrealityontheground.Nonetheless,thismomentoffersarealopportunityforthethird
sectortoembeditselfasavitalpartofthemainstreameconomy.

Criticalsuccessfactorsforsocialandcommunityenterprise
Throughoutthisresearchanumberofkeyfactorscriticaltosuccesshaverecurred.Often
thesehavebeensharedbybothsocialandcommunityenterprisesandpublicsectorofficials.
People
Thehardworkandcommitmentofstaffarecentraltotheworkofsuccessfulenterprises.
Strongleadershipthatcanofferaclearlyarticulatedvisionisvital,andcanactasacheckon
missiondriftbroughtaboutbychasingfunding.However,inkeepingwithotherresearch,
thisprojecthashighlightedthatmanyorganisationsareheavilyreliantonasmallnumberof
keystaff,puttingthemunderenormouspressure.Whetheranorganisationisledbyan
individualentrepreneurorateamofcommunityactivists,ensuringtheseindividualsare
supportedisakeyareafordevelopment.
Afurthercriticalissueishavingrelevantskills–oraccesstootherpeoplethatdo–suchas
businessplanning,marketingandpublicrelations.Thisisaparticularlytrickyissueformany
socialandcommunityenterprisesservingdeprivedcommunities,wheresuchskillscanbein
shortsupply.Fearofbeingliableforthefailureofanenterprisecanalsobeabiggerbarrier
indeprivedcommunities,alongwithalackofenterprisingcapacity.
Networksandprofile
Beingactiveintherightnetworksisakeyenablerofsocialandcommunityenterprise,
offeringavitalmechanismforraisingtheprofileofenterprises.Networkingwithother
voluntaryandcommunitysectororganisationsisseenasvaluable,particularlypeer-to-peer
supportandmentoring.However,thebenefitsofmixednetworksarealsorecognised.
Bringingtogetherpublic,privateandvoluntarysectororganisationsoffersopportunitiesfor
hearingaboutcontractingopportunitiesandbuildingconsortiatobidforcontracts.
Serviceprovisionandidentifyinganiche
Socialandcommunityenterprisesneednotonlytounderstandthecommunitythatthey
serve,butalsohowtoaccessmarketsand–whererelevant–developnewmarkets.Partof
thischallengeistofindanichetofill,andgatherevidencetodemonstratecommunityneed
andgapsinservices.Thisrequiresgoodqualitymarketresearchandprofessionalmarketing
oftheresultingservice.
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Box5.1.Developingapictureofsuccess
Weaskedourworkshopparticipantstoidentifythekeycharacteristicsofahighly
successfulcommunityenterprise.Intheirviewitwould:
•Havetherightpeopleinvolved,whohaveappropriateskills,arecreativeand
innovativeandseechangeaspositive.Therewouldbeastrongcultureoflearning
andstrongleadershipfromapersonwhocatalysesactivityandempowersthose
aroundthemaswellasthewidercommunity.
•Bestronglyrootedandwellknowninthelocalarea,ownedandcontrolledbythe
communityandaccountabletoit,withagoodunderstandingofcommunityneed.
Goodorganisationsshouldalsobuildthelocalcommunity,developingandutilising
positiveformsofsocialcapital.
•Knowwhatsupportisavailableandmakeuseofit.
•Beenterprisingandactivelytrytogeneratesustainablerevenueandensureadiverse
fundingbase.Astrongorganisationwillbechoosyinwhatitdoes,andnotsimply
drivenbyavailablefunding.
• Haveaclearvisionandplanforthefuture,includingHRandbusinessplanning.
• Identifyeconomicopportunitiesandusequalitymarketresearchtoensureitsservices
meetlocalneeds.
•Useitssuccesstoinspirefurthersuccessinthecommunity,sharingknowledge,ideas
andspacewithothers.
•Buildstrongpartnershipsandrelationships.

Barrierstosocialandcommunityenterprise
Theresearchalsofoundconsiderableagreementaboutthekeybarriersthatsocialand
communityenterprisesface.
Fundingandfinance
Asever,fundingaroseasakeyissueinanumberofways.Manyidentifiedaccesstofunding,
particularlycapitalfinance,asakeyissue,andarticulatedfearthattheavailabilityoffunding
isgoingtobecomemoreratherthanlessofaproblemaspublicsectorspendingiscut.Our
surveyrespondentsdemonstratedahighlevelofdependencyonthepublicsectorfor
income,andastrongpreferenceforgrantfunding.Somewouldarguethatthese
organisations(thevastmajorityinoursurvey)arenotthereforeenterprises,whichmaybe
true.Inreality,theyareprobablyaspiringenterprisesororganisationsintransition,working
towardsbecomingafullyfledgedsocialorcommunityenterprise.Thescaleofthischallenge
shouldnotbeunderestimated.Fortheseorganisationssomelow-level,short-termgrant
fundinggivenspecificallytosupportthetransitiontoenterprisecouldhelptocatalyse
change.
Publicsectorcommissioningandprocurement
Fororganisationsthatarefullyfledgedsocialandcommunityenterprises,publicsector
commissioningisamainstay,andthefortunesofmostofourcasestudyorganisationshad
turnedwhentheysecuredamajorpublicsectorcontract.Nonetheless,gainingaccessto
contractsremainsabarriertothesuccessofmanyenterprisesoraspiringenterprises.There
areanumberofareaswherecommissioningandprocurementcouldbeimproved,including
endingrestrictivespecificationsthatsetouthowdeliveryshouldoccur,ratherthanfocusing
ontheoutcomessought;overlycomplexprocesses;tighttimescales;andlargecontractsthat
areoutofthereachofsmallerorganisations.
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Goodqualitysupport
Accessinggoodqualitysupportinatimelyandaffordablefashionisessential.Theresearch
identifiedalargenumberoforganisationsofferingavarietyofformsofsupporttosocialand
communityenterprises,frommainstreambusinesssupportproviders,togeneralvoluntary
sectorandsocialenterprisesupportorganisations,tospecialistsprovidingnicheadvice.
Coordination,sharinginformationandpropersignpostingremaincrucialchallenges.
Mostimportantisforthesystemtobegearedtotheneedsoftheorganisationseeking
support,andappropriatetotheirstageofdevelopment,suggestinga‘lifecycleapproach’to
theprovisionofsupportisneeded.Thiswasreflectedinourcasestudies,withsomewanting
generalorganisationaldevelopmentsupport,whileothershighlightedaneedforsectoral
support.Bysectoralsupporttheymeantsupporttailoredtoorganisationsworkingina
particularfield,bethatchildrenandyoungpeople,educationorhealth.Respondentstoour
survey,aswellasourcasestudies,highlightedthatvoluntarysectororganisationstendtobe
thefavouredsourceofsupport,andmentoringstoodoutasbeingparticularlyvalued.
Mainstreambusinesssupportserviceswerecriticisedforaperceivedemphasisongrowthasa
primarygoal,whenthisisnotalwaysdesirableforsocialandcommunityenterprises.
Developingcoreorganisationalinfrastructure
Asharedcharacteristicthatemergesstronglyfromthecasestudyresearchistheneedfor
goodorganisationalstructureandplanningandsupportforcoreinfrastructure.Successful
organisationsarebuiltongoodprocesses.Goodfinancialmanagementandhumanresources
managementenabletherestoftheorganisationtooperatesmoothly.Mostofourcase
studieshadatsomepointundergoneafullorganisationalreview,whichinsomecaseshad
resultedindifficultdecisionshavingtobetaken.Ineachcasethisstreamliningand
refocusingoftheorganisationwasregardedasacriticalturningpointinmakingthemthe
enterprisetheyaretoday.Havingthespaceandfinancetoundertakesuchareviewto
ensurethecoreinfrastructureisinplacecanprovecriticaltosuccess,andwithoutit
organisationsmaynotreachtheirfullpotential.Afurtherbarrier,however,ishowtofund
coreinfrastructureonanongoingbasis.Thismakesthequestionoffullcostrecoverycentral,
whichmustbeaddressedintherefreshmentofthecompact.

Recommendations
1)MakingBigSocietyflourish
Thenewimpetusgeneratedbythecoalitiongovernment’semphasisontheroleofsocial
enterpriseincreatingtheBigSocietyistobewelcomed.However,itwouldseemthat–in
theNorthWestatleast–thereisasignificantgapbetweenexpectationsfortheBigSociety
andthecurrentcapacityofthesectortofulfilthem.Ambitionstobuildcapacityalsolook
dangerouslyconstrainedbytheMarch2011fundingcliff-edge.
Inordertobridgethegapandaddressconcernsaboutcapacityandfunding,werecommend
anurgentneedforrobustandfrequentdialoguebetweennationalpolicymakers,
regionally-basedrepresentativesofthevoluntaryandcommunitysectorandsocial
enterprise,localauthoritiesandothersupportagencies.
Whilefinancesaretight,themoneythatdoescometothesectorthroughtheBigSociety
Bank,theCommunitiesFirstFundandanylocalauthoritydiscretionaryspendshouldbe
targetedattheareasofgreatestneed.Investmentshouldfocusonsecuringsustainability
andsupportingstart-uporganisationsinareaswheretheyareabsent.Someofthisfunding
shouldtaketheformofseed-corngrants,givenspecificallytosupportorganisationstomove
ontoamoreenterprisingfooting.
2)Makingthetransitiontoenterprise
CommunityandsocialenterprisesintheNorthWestareplayingacriticalroleinthevitality
andwellbeingofmanycommunitiesacrosstheregion,notleastinsomeofthemost
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deprivedneighbourhoodswheretheyactasasocialglueenhancingresilienceandqualityof
life.However,itwouldappearthatasubstantialproportionoforganisationscalling
themselvessocialorcommunityenterprisesstillhavesomedistancetotraveltoachieve
sustainability.Organisationsneedsupportiftheyaretoreducetheirrelianceongrantsand
movetomoreenterprisingactivity.
Werecommendthatleaders,boardmembersandtrusteesoforganisationsaspiringtobe
communityorsocialenterprisescarryoutanorganisationalreview,focusingoncore
missionandfuturefinancialsustainabilityinordertofacilitateagenuinetransitiontoa
moreenterprisingapproach.
Supportingthistransitionshouldbeakeyfocusfornationalpolicymakers,regionally-based
representativesofthevoluntaryandcommunitysectorandsocialenterprise,localauthorities
andothersupportagencies.
3)Commissioningandprocurement
Bothprocurementandcommissioningofferaroutetosustainabilityformanysocialand
communityenterprises,andyetourresearchshowsthatmostcommunityandsocial
enterprisesexperiencesignificantbarriersinaccessingsuchfunding.
Werecommendthatlocalauthoritiesandotherlocalserviceprovidersshouldreview
commissioningandprocurementprocessestobetterunderstandtheneedsandbenefits
ofthesocialandcommunityenterprisesector.Theyshouldthenmovequicklyfrom
developingstrategiesandplanningtoconcreteaction.
Reviewsshouldfocusonremovingunnecessarycomplexityandbureaucracy.Toensurethe
users’perspectiveisattheheartoftheprocess,localsocialandcommunityenterprises
shouldbeinvolvedinthereviewtoensureanynewprocessesareaccessible.Contractsize
shouldalsobeconsidered,withlocalauthoritiesandtheirpartnersconsciousthatas
contractsincreaseinsizetheybecomemoredifficultforlocally-basedsocialandcommunity
enterprisestodeliver,favouringinsteadlargernationalorinternationalorganisationsand
businesses.Thereisdissonancebetweeneconomiesofscaleontheonehand,and
supportingsustainablelocalcommunityandsocialenterprisesontheother.Partofthe
answerliesincontinuingtodevelopcapacityforconsortiaworkinginthevoluntarysector,
butpartoftheanswerisalsolikelytorelyonafundamentalreassessmentofwhatwemean
by‘value’.Valueshouldincorporateideasofplaceshaping,andpromotingsocial,economic
andenvironmentalsustainability.
4)Coordinatingsupport
Awiderangeoforganisationsandindividualsacrossthepublic,privateandvoluntarysectors
areofferingsupporttosocialandcommunityenterprises.Fromprovidersofgeneric
voluntarysectorsupporttoorganisationsofferingspecialistsupport,businesssupport
providersandlocalauthorities,thepictureiscomplex,confusingandunhelpfully
competitive.
Organisationstendtoneeddifferenttypesofsupportatdifferentstagesoftheir
development.Thefocusshouldbefirmlyontheneedsoftheclient,astheyareguided
throughdifferentstagesofdevelopmentandhandedontothenextlevelofsupportwhen
(andif)relevant.Generallyspeaking,communitydevelopmentsupportislikelytobeneeded
intheveryearlystagesofthelifecycle,genericvoluntarysectorsupportasanorganisation
becomesmoreestablished,andbusinessand/orspecialistsupportasanorganisation
becomesanestablishedenterpriseorseekstogrow.Supportshouldthereforebelinkedinto
a‘lifecycleframework’,withprovidersspecialisingindifferentpartsofthelifecycleand
referringenterprisestootherproviderswhereandwhentheyarebetterabletomeettheir
needs.
Werecommendthat,ininterestsofthewidersector,thewiderangeofsupportagencies
operatingintheNorthWestworktogethertobettercoordinatetheireffortsandpresent
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amorecoherentsupportoffertoexistingandaspiringcommunityandsocialenterprises
intheregion,basedona‘life-cycleframework’.
Werecommendthatsomeofthekeyelementsofthesupportpackagethatisneededmight
include:
Supportingindividualsandcollectives: Peer-to-peersupportandmentoringopportunities
havebeenhighlightedashighlyvaluedbythisresearch.Ensuringpeoplecanlinkinto
networksandfindappropriatementorsisessentialtogrowingsocialandcommunity
enterprises.
Marketing:AccesstomarketingandPRadvicehasbeenhighlightedasagapinsupport
provision.Thisisakeyareaforsupport,particularlyasenterpriseslooktoraisetheirprofile
andpromotetheiractivitiesinaprofessionalandpersuasivewayinordertobuildtheir
businessactivity.
Engagingincommissioningandprocurement: Thereisclearlyaneedforserviceprovidersto
reviewprocurementandcommissioningprocesses(assetoutinRecommendation3above),
butcommunityandsocialenterprisesmustalsobebetterequippedtobidforcontracts.
Trainingtotakeonassets: Buildingtheassetbaseofsocialandcommunityenterpriseis
anotherimportantroutetogreatersustainability.Thepressureonthepublicsectortomake
savingscouldsignalawaveofassettransfers,whichcouldbeverypositiveforthesector.
However,thisshouldbedonehandinhandwithcommunitydevelopmentworktoensure
localorganisationshavethecapacitytoreceiveassets,andinvolvethelocalcommunityin
therunningofthem.
Supporttoconductorganisationalreviews:Organisationalreviewsprovedtobevitaltoolsfor
ourcasestudiesontheirjourneytobecomingenterprises.Providingfundingtoenable
organisationalreviewscouldbeakeyareaforinvestmenttoincreasethenumberof
organisationsthatare‘enterpriseready’.

Takingthisagendaforward
Thekeymessagesofthisresearchshouldformthestartingpointforaconversationwithin
theregion,andbetweentheregionandgovernment.Throughpartnerorganisations,we
hopethisresearchwillbewidelycirculated,viewsfedback,andadialogueonthebestways
torespondtothesechallengesbegun.Socialandcommunityenterprises,theirrepresentative
organisationsandthewiderthirdsectorhavetheopportunitytoshapetheGovernment’sBig
Societyagendaasitemerges.Wehopethisresearchwillhelpinthistask.
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