Tuesday, 6 April 2010

So we're off

So we’re off: the election has been called. Critical for the country as a whole this election is critical for the sector too. What is at stake and what change do we need?

Fortunately ACEVO and our partners at the Community Alliance and Social Enterprise Coalition have already answered those questions. Our joint manifesto outlines the four things which the next government needs to get right in order for our sector to play its potential role in transforming public services, cutting the debt, and empowering citizens and communities.

1 Smart investment in an age of austerity

  • Use a variety of funding vehicles when working with third sector organisations which are best suited to the desired outcome, including contracts, grants and loans.
  • Support the capitalisation of the third sector by continuing to develop social investment, the creation of the Social Investment Wholesale bank and stimulating new forms of social finance such as social impact bonds.
  • Attract private investment into the sector through adapting investment tax incentives to give a higher return for those organisations delivering social or environmental benefit.
  • Transfer more assets into community ownership and invest in the communities which will manage those assets.
  • Deliver better banking by reforming financial regulations so that banks can more easily deliver for all the communities they need to serve.

2 Improved public service markets and the democratisation of commissioning

  • Create an environment where commissioners are able to take risks and dare to try something new.
  • Ensure a level playing field, transparency and openness in all public procurement, with simplified and proportionate processes.
  • Value co-design in the commissioning of services.
  • Respect the terms of the Compact.
  • Supporting the development of social enterprise models across public sector agencies
  • Commission services on a scale which makes sense to service users and allows third sector organisations to play to their strengths.
  • In tendering processes support and facilitate collaborations between local partners, between large and small, and between national and local organisations and those with different business models.
  • Value social and environmental outcomes in commissioning processes.
  • Support and incentivise capacity building through procurement.
  • Develop skills of commissioners and providers, and create the space for strategic conversations.
  • Ensure services are personalised and joined-up.

3 A supportive architecture

  • Sustain a department and minister with sole responsibility for the third sector at the heart of government.
  • Performance manage government departments on their involvement and engagement with the third sector in all areas of policy development.
  • Reform benefits to remove disincentives to volunteering and allow part time paid work in community groups and social enterprises.
  • Reform regulation affecting the third sector to encourage more community action and volunteering.
  • Allow more flexible governance arrangements in the sector.
  • Continue to invest in building the sector’s capacity, in particular in leadership and governance, with a smarter more demand led approach.
  • Create a tax system which promotes social entrepreneurialism and philanthropy while maximising returns to the sector.

4 An environmentally sustainable relationship

  • Deliver the recommendations of the third sector ministerial taskforce.
  • Embed green outcomes in public procurement.
  • Place the third sector at the heart of a green economy.
  • Support all organisations to deliver a triple bottom line.
  • Support third sector leaders to respond and adapt to the future of public services.


  1. Yep, all pretty sound stuff. I expect most of it will be in place by the end of August.

  2. Has the lobby considered asking the government to consider promoting investments in social enterprises by ordinary people?

    Just wondering if, as the government guarantees the first £50K you put into a bank, it could also considering guaranteeing (possibly a % of) the first £10K or £20K someone invests in a CIC, for example?