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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

UK’s social enterprises vulnerable to public sector changes

This news post is almost 7 years old

​Fluctuations within public sector departments affect social enterprises most, survey finds

Britain’s 471,000 social enterprises are more vulnerable than other small businesses especially when it comes to changes in the public sector.

Some 9% of UK small business are now social enterprises, employing around 1.44 million people according to new research by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The report said social enterprises were more likely to have the public sector as a customer making them more susceptible to cuts and changes within civil service departments.

Social enterprise employers reported higher levels of innovation, were more optimistic with regard to longer-term growth prospects over three years and more open to advice and external information, compared to SMEs.

However, social enterprise employers were also less internationally focussed as indicated by the lower rates of exporting compared to SME employers.

Nick Temple, deputy chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, which formed part of the advisory group for the study, said: “Social Enterprise UK welcomes this most recent report from central government on social enterprise.

“We are particularly pleased that the definition used for the research is now in line with that widely accepted by the social enterprise movement itself, which gives it more credibility.

“While the sample is relatively small, the findings echo some of those of our own State of Social Enterprise survey; notably, that social enterprises are more likely to innovate with new products and services, more likely to be delivering public services, and more likely to seek external finance than their SME equivalents.”