Giving contracts to Social Enterprises in health is fashionable with the Government and the Conservative Party.  The Better Public Services project say “We need a revolution in our public services. Far more charities, businesses and social entrepreneurs should be allowed to use their passion and expertise to help transform them. We need much more competition to get people the best possible results. And we need the kinds of technological innovations that are modernising all other service sectors to at last be used to make our public services much simpler to navigate and use.”
We are in favour of genuine social enterprises. But there is no agreed definition.  By Social Enterprise we mean an organisation which is accountable to its users or to the staff who run it. There is nothing socialist in allowing or encouraging a group of people who happen to hold employment contracts with large public bodies at a particular moment in time to get sole control or ownership of said services. We could call it theft of public assets with no regard to the public and other stakeholders.
And we doubt whether competition really delivers results in services for vulnerable people who are not paying for them.  If you don’t pay you aren’t a consumer.  You are the commodity out of which business make profit.

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