InTouch social enterprise east of england
Summer 2006 • Issue 15
Inside: An introduction from SEEE’s new CEO
Michele Rigby introduces herself
David Lloyd talks about EEDA and the changes at Business Link
The State of the (credit)union
Sally Chicken reviews the situation for credit unions in the East of England
Lowestoft community enterprise and credit union
Chair of EEDA pledges continuing support for social enterprises
A credit union that know its onions
We report on a full, packed and successful event
Partnership: the key to financial inclusion
Social housing providers are increasingly taking a lead on the financial inclusion agenda
Sharing Knowledge about Community Enterprise in the East
Judge Business School hosted its third Community Enterprise Research Conference
Feature: The John Lewis 12 vision: still fit for purpose? Howard Tait reviews John Lewis' history and asks if John Spedan Lewis' vision still works
A new format to help you find the information that interests you more easily
The Social Firms' Performance Dashboard
Sally Reynolds describes Social Firms UK's performance measuring tool
EEDA Chair Richard Ellis addressed the SEEE AGM
he final and much anticipated address to the SEEE delegates on 14 June, preceding the AGM, was from Richard Ellis, Chair of EEDA. Richard spoke about the future of social enterprise in the region and how EEDA could support that in its newer, more strategic role. Richard sees the role of social enterprise as entrepreneurial even if it is not always or primarily about making money.
The need for entrepreneurship and social inclusion
The regional economic strategy boils down to eight core goals, of which the second, growing competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship and fifth, social inclusion and broad participation in the regional economy, particularly apply to social enterprises; indeed, as Richard pointed out, there is more social exclusion and deprivation in the Eastern Region than in the North-east – but the east’s deprivation is in pockets. Developing skills is a key issue, with the Cambridge area developing fast but with greater challenges and not-so-fast development in areas like rural Suffolk and Norfolk. Nonetheless the east is rightly named “the ideas region” and we need to make more of being on London’s doorstep. Yet we also are the region of fastest growing population and this is also a challenge.
A change of focus and approach
Internet: SEEE’s Web partner services are at: http://www.seee.co.uk http://www.seee.co.uk/interactive http://www.nearbuyou.co.uk
Richard was keen to impress on delegates that EEDA has changed greatly over the last year or so from “project factory” to a strategic body – a catalyst and innovator. The agency is working hard to set a sustainable direction, influence partners within the region to buy into same strategy while influencing those outside to invest here, and also to influence the making of sensible decisions for the benefit of the region at national, governmental level. EEDA sees itself as “delivering a few things but well”, with its four core “products” being: • Business Support • Investing in Communities (IiC) • Enterprise Hubs • Regional Renaissance ➜ page 8 Business support is for the 400,000ish businesses in the region. This
An introduction from SEEE’s new CEO
y the time you read this, the first AGM and conference of SEEE will have taken place, although I am writing this a couple of weeks beforehand. I hope that those of you who attended had a great time, learned something new, and met some new colleagues and contacts. The event has been put together by a great team who deserve all credit for their hard work. The arrangements for this event obviously dominated the last couple of months in SEEE, but I also attended a number of events in the region and talked to a range of social enterprises. I came into this post with some fairly strong views about the current environment for social enterprises, and these have been supplemented by the issues and challenges that I have heard about while attending these events. It is clear that Business Support is a key area, and an area of concern with the movement of the Social Enterprise Unit out of the DTI. I also met Ed Miliband, the new Minister for the Third Sector at an event organised on 18 May. The new Office for Charity and Third Sector Finance is bringing together the current work from across Government, including from the Social Enterprise Unit of the DTI. According to Mr Miliband he is primarily a co-ordinator of the Third Sector: with the increased role the third sector plays in so many areas, every department is and must be a ‘third sector’ department. Both Nicky Stevenson and I took the opportunity to impress upon him the importance of ensuring that there were appropriate means for business support for social enterprises. It is a mark of the sector, though, that many are looking for their
own enterprising ways to find the kind of support they need, and I have heard about the frustration for social enterprises in some areas in trying to find motivated board members who can contribute solid business experience. Other areas cover the difficulties of contracting with local authorities, finding funding, and of course, finding time in the day to get everything done!
Trying new ways of networking
There’s clearly mileage in trying new ways for SEEE members to be in contact with each other to share experience and solutions to these and other problems, and so I am piloting Friday Virtual Coffee Mornings (VCM). The idea is to get together online, using Skype (see page 9 for further information), and spend 20-30 minutes time out of the work of the day to chat, air problems, and find others who can help. We can take it a bit further, by having some agendaled VCM, where one of our members can lead a “webinar” on a particular topic, or we can invite outside speakers (from all over the world!) to share their wisdom with us. As I am writing, I have no idea if this will work well for all, for some, or be a horrendous flop, but I certainly think it is worth a pilot, to see what problems arise, and if it is a good way of communicating. I hope that Michele Rigby Chief Executive Officer as many members of SEEE as SEEE possible will drop in and give T: 01234 834711 it a go. E: Michele.Rigby@SEEE.co.uk
HERTS EXTERNAL RESOURCES NETWORK www.hertsdirect.org/hern
ANNUAL FUNDING FAIR 2006 Wednesday 18 October 2006, Fielder Centre, Hatﬁeld, Herts Whether your group is looking for just a hundred pounds or thousands of pounds, the HERN Annual Funding Fair is the right place to start looking. This free information and training day is open to all Hertfordshire based organisations and will include: • information stands, advice sessions and workshops - giving you the chance to brush up on your fundraising skills • opportunities to meet with funders to ﬁnd out about their priorities and how your project/organisation might ﬁt them • opportunities to meet and network with other groups
Can you afford to miss this day? For further information please contact: Andrew Burt T: 01992 555213 E: firstname.lastname@example.org InTouch
No 15 Summer 2006
Carol Cain T: 01992 555366 E: email@example.com
Editorial From the Editor
Easterly winds of change
Social Enterprise East of England Summer 2006 Issue 15
David Lloyd is managing director of Business for People in Huntingdon. He is editor and contributor to various publications
InTouch is published by SEEE (funded by EEDA/Investing in Communities)
SEEE F22 Bedford iLab Stannard Way Bedford MK44 3RZ
T: 01480 861607
CEO: Michele Rigby
Finance: Elaine McCorriston
Marketing and website: Bex Bowtell
Administration: Louise Gilbert
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uch effort having gone into our write-up on the SEEE conference (see pages 8 to 9), my editorial will be even briefer than usual. There are a number of things going on around EEDA, the East of England Development Agency, that are of interest to those working in the social enterprise field.
EEDA sets out its stall
First, on page one you will find a synopsis of EEDA chair Richard Ellis’ presentation to the SEEE AGM on 14 June. The commitment that Richard and EEDA have toward social enterprise and its part in the region’s health and growth came through strongly. The contribution that social enterprise makes to the region is very significant and, while we are on the crest of the wave of government and opposition enthusiasm, we should make the most of it. However, we need to realise that the EEDA game plan is now firmly strategic, and to understand exactly what that means.
A new, regional Business Link service
Another change of note is that EEDA will now contract with just one organisation to deliver small business support services across the region and, while negotiations are still taking place at time of writing, it has been announced that this is now a one horse race. According to EEDA, “EEIDB Ltd has been selected as the preferred bidder to run the service from 1 April 2007, on the basis that their proposals offer to deliver the greatest improvements to the quality, consistency and accessibility of Business Link services for small businesses in the region. … EEIDB Ltd is a new organisation set up specifically to deliver business support in the region by providing information services, diagnosis of the support needs of individual businesses and brokerage to private and public sector organisations under the Business Link brand.” EEIDB will be an amalgam of what are currently the Hertfordshire and Essex Business Links, which have been strong and innovative supporters of social enterprise development in the region, and EEIDB will be represented on the SEEE board. We look forward to the development of a more effective and joined up service across the region, and not before time. It’s important that we all continue to work keep social enterprise 12:49 highly visible Ad Adto 2.qxp 27/06/2006 Page on 1 the radar screen of the government and its agencies.
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No 15 Summer 2006
Community Finance What is a credit union? Definitions of Credit Unions According to ABCUL (Association of British Credit Unions Ltd) • Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned and controlled by their members. They offer savings and great value loans plus they are local, ethical and know what their members want. • Each credit union has a “common bond” which determines who can join it. The common bond may be for people living or working in the same area, people working for the same employer or people who belong to the same association, such as a church or trade union.
Further points of interest are: • Credit unions are not-for-profit and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. • Credit unions also offer free life insurance. Some larger credit unions offer grant loans and receive state benefit payments. • The cost of a CU loan is capped by law at no more than 1% a month so that for example a loan of £300 paid back over 1 year will cost £19.80 in interest, an APR of 12.8%. Average loans taken out by members tend to be between £300 and £500. For more information on credit unions: W: http://www.abcul.org/page/about/intro.cfm
Tackling the "loan shark"
The State of the (Credit) Union
By Sally Chicken
here are 30 credit unions in the EEDA region, five of which have an employment-only common bond. Some community based credit unions are taking advantage of the new rules on common bonds to become larger, growing to over 1,000 members each, with the potential to become larger still. Some credit unions are not growing and it’s possible that some of these will consider merging with larger credit unions. In 2002, it was widely predicted that the additional burden of FSA compliance would result in mergers. The end result will be fewer, larger credit unions which are more financially sustainable. HarlowSave shows how successful a strategy for merging can be: four credit unions merged to create a much larger social enterprise, employing three people and serving over 900 members. The medium term aim is to achieve 1% penetration of the common bond population, with the long term aim of achieving higher penetration. 5.4 million people live in East Anglia, so credit unions should be aiming to achieve 54,000 members in the medium term. More than 13,000 adults and 3,000 children are already members in the EEDA region. EEDA region credit union members have £6 million on deposit with their credit union. £4.9 million is out on loan, a surprising figure for anyone who thinks credit unions are just small voluntary groups. (FSA Copyright of Statistics)
No 15 Summer 2006
Trading income from lending is the only way that credit unions can become self-sustaining, the larger credit unions are succeeding in increasing the amount out on loan, but without access to capital funds this process is limited by the total share deposits and membership
CUs reach places other institutions don’t
Success is also measured in other ways, high share deposits mean that members have somewhere safe to put their money, reducing crime and the fear of crime. High withdrawals may mean that unbanked members are using share accounts instead of cheque cashing shops such as Cash Converters and Shop-acheque, notoriously expensive ways of cashing cheques. Deposits and withdrawals increased sharply when migrant workers started using credit unions to deposit wages, having been turned away from bank accounts due to lack of standard ID (shared housing meant many lack utility bills). This group of members don’t tend to borrow much, but nevertheless value their membership for offering them a significant benefit. Some common bonds already have the structure and potential to become regional ‘super’ credit unions, ensuring that no area, however isolated, need be excluded from coverage. However, funding would be required to enable such ambitious expansion.
➜ page 6
Fully Funded Social Enterprise Support Training Courses Throughout Bedfordshire Business Link for Bedfordshire and Luton will be delivering Funded Training and workshops provided free of charge throughout June to September 2006 for the benefit of all Social Enterprises and budding social entrepreneurs within Bedfordshire (including community groups, voluntary groups and anyone interested in community work). If you are a social enterprise or a social entrepreneur and would like to receive training and support in: • Legal Structures • Marketing • ICT • E-Commerce • Business Planning • Access to Finance • Continuous Improvement • Sustainability • Public Procurement To find out more information about this excellent opportunity (t) 0845 850 8822 (e) Socialenterprisetraining@bl4bl.co.uk
Managing a Social Enterprise Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire Improve your skills and your social enterprise performance in key areas
Presentation Skills Money Management Marketing Project Management Business Planning
3 3 3 3 3
This free, accredited training programme begins in October 2006 To find out more please contact Carole Martindill from Anglia Ruskin University:
firstname.lastname@example.org - 0845 196 6833 - www.wiseproject.org.uk
This training is supported by the European Social Fund, via co-financing from the Learning & Skills Council in the East of England
No 15 Summer 2006
Community Finance Page 4 ➜ Regional round up Ipswich & Suffolk CU for Suffolk with 1500 members; Rainbow Saver Anglia CU (RSACUL) for the entire EEDA region with the pre-requisite of retail co-operative membership; South Norfolk CU as the only credit union considering expanding its common bond to cover the whole of Norfolk. Other credit unions may well emerge as being capable of speedy success. Early contenders are Holdfast CU (Witham based), a long established efficient credit union, HarlowSave which succeeded in the difficult task of multi-merger, Bedford CU which is well placed to extend to the whole county, and Money Matters CU (Luton) which has a very solid base of 1600 members from which to launch further growth. As an example, the evolution of RSACUL from a small niche credit union to a regional presence is demonstrated by its progress over the last 2 years in gaining new partners, and growth of all key indicators: membership up to 800, loans doubling, share deposits exceeding £100,000. Host partners Compass in Peterborough, Keystone in Thetford, Trading Standards and CAB in Huntingdon and Wisbech, and Suffolk ACRE and the Food Co-op in Lowestoft have helped spread RSACUL benefits across the region.
The chart shows clusters of RSACUL activity across the region: Shareholding Loans No of members
District Ely Peterborough Thetford (launched April 06) Wisbech (New) Huntingdon (launched Oct 05) Lowestoft Standing Orders Payroll and others Totals
268 118 60 776
£24,000 £48,050 £1,327 £110,201
£12,000 £7,134 £4,790 £40,012
RSACUL and Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union featured in a presentation about Financial Exclusion by Teresa Perchard, National CAB Policy Adviser in March 2006. She referred to the innovative work in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk CAB’s with both credit unions, and stated that national policy strategy had been shaped by the success of these pilots. Trading Standards, CABx and credit unions are beginning to work more closely in partnership and this will be seen more widely now that the Financial Inclusion Fund is beginning its work.
The ‘Credit Unions East’ Forum continues to meet, with representation from across the region, and recently compared loan policies and how successful different strategies can be. A fruitful discussion around key indicators revealed that some credit unions are more successful than they appreciate – focusing solely on membership numbers can hide the success in converting potential members into actual members. As an example, an employee based credit union cannot become a large credit union if the employee base is small, but one Forum member has managed to convert 30% of staff into credit union members, a huge achievement. Partnership working is helping spread the benefits of credit
No 15 Summer 2006
unions to various groups. South Nor folk CU is working with Solo Housing to help tenants in temporary accommodation get a rent deposit. Holdfast CU is working with a local partner to improve housing stock by offering home improvement loans. Ipswich and Suffolk CU takes referrals from over 25 local voluntary and statutory organisations for welfare loans including rent deposits, and budgeting accounts for people who want to spread the cost of bills. Colchester CU has developed junior savers in several local schools.
“Bottom line” impact not just financial The key to successful partnership working is in helping partners reach their own targets through enabling access to fair financial products. Reducing landfill through lending for washable nappies, improving housing stock by providing home improvement loans, reducing homelessness by offering rent deposit loans, and reducing crime by providing a safe place to put cash are all outcomes expedited by partnerships with credit unions.
Structural framework in place?
The East of England Forum of Credit Unions encourages cooperation and discussion amongst credit unions to ensure that credit union services are delivered across the maximum area without conflict in areas of overlapping common bonds. Cooperation amongst co-operatives is the goal – one of the eight principles of International Co-operation. After years of anticipated growth failing to translate into real growth, it is now clear that credit unions have the structural capability to grow at last. All that is holding them back is lack of investment, Perhaps funders could consider targeting credit unions with the real potential for quick wins, or consider some strategic interventions that would promote growth, such as regional marketing campaigns, employment of Development Officers, acquisition of products such as Paypoint, and capital to acquire premises.
Sally Chicken has been a Credit Union Volunteer for 14 years, and is founder Director of 4 credit unions, and is currently Chairman of RSACUL, ISCU Compliance Director, Co-operatives East Secretary, Credit Unions East Secretary and member of ABCUL Corporate Governance Committee T: 01473 780052 E: email@example.com
Lowestoft community enterprise and credit union A grass-roots view of a credit union and good food co-op
ur credit union model in Lowestoft was developed in March 2003 after a group of local people approached Suffolk ACRE and received a grant secured by funding through the EU. The project is supported by Suffolk ACRE and Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union Limited (RSACUL). In March 2004 Matt Thubron was employed by Suffolk ACRE to lead the project and in September 2004 the office was open for business. To date Lowestoft has 270 members. To take a loan out with the CU you have to have saved regularly for 13 weeks then you can borrow 3 times the amount you have in savings. The credit union also provides a payroll deduction service to Waveney District Council employees, and this is an area that Matt is also keen to expand on. Another service coming to Lowestoft soon is the introduction of a Pay Point Card for use in rural shops and post offices, as we all know these local businesses need our support to survive. A credit union is well placed to offer a real alternative to high cost lenders particularly loan sharks and pawnbrokers whose interest rates can be up to 400%.
The local benefits
Loans taken out with a CU offer protection to vulnerable consumers, that is those on low-to-medium incomes and the unemployed. Furthermore, money
from loans is usually spent on goods and ser vices in the local area thereby supporting local business. I asked Matt Thubron LCEs project officer about the significance of having the administration centre of RSACUL in Lowestoft (see lead article) and his hopes and aspirations for the future of the CU. “The admin centre in Lowestoft will allow us to provide a quicker and more comprehensive service to our members and offers the potential to work with Yarmouth credit unions and develop services in rural Suffolk. We are also developing a website which we hope to have up and running in the near future”, said Matt. Members and volunteers are equally enthusiastic about the changes. Reg Brine has been involved in the credit union here since the beginning and puts in many hours as a volunteer and commented: “I am very happy that we will have the administration centre here, our members deserve the best service we can offer, (and) it will also encourage the membership growth. I would also like to see us setting up collection points in rural areas”.
The credit union and the Good Food Coop have 6 collection points in Lowestoft including one at Lowestoft library and one recently opened at a local Baptist church. They are friendly environments and you can usually get a free cup of tea. The collection points are run by trained volunteers who are also members living in that community. The Good Food Coop is a sister project of the credit union and is led by Sophie Ward the project officer. Participants in the scheme pay £2.50 a week for a bag of fresh seasonal vegetables. The produce comes from a local farmer, so local growers are supported.
Learning to stay out of debt
With the suppor t of ABCUL(the Association of British Credit Unions) some credit unions are opening collection points in schools and provide a starter pack containing all aspects of running savings clubs. They have designed 3 characters to promote this Kash, Penny and Moolah. With the UK in personal debt to the tune of over 1 billion, it is important to provide financial education to young people and teach them how to manage their money. Starting up a credit union is a time consuming affair and requires dedication and determination in equal measures, but the rewards are great. There is ample opportunity to build on skills or learn new ones by doing training courses and attending conferences where you can meet people who are passionate about the credit union movement. Patsy Bleasdale, volunteer and project assistant
No 15 Summer 2006
First SEEE AGM: packed and productive
S Cover ➜
includes social enterprises which EEDA estimates provide 30,000 full-time jobs, 13,500 part-time jobs and an annual turnover of £4.7 billion. This is an appreciable chunk of the estimated £27 billion annual turnover of social enterprises in the whole UK. IiC provides a modest amount of money to influence in the regeneration of the community. Negotiation and discussion is now the modus operandi rather than the old bidding regime. The enterprise hubs will make best use of knowledge and support specific sectors, SEEE directors including the social enterprise sector. Social Enterprises Continuing support for social
Regional renaissance will be focused on quality of space and supporting and building sustainable communities. R i c h a rd e m p h a s i s e d t h a t s o c i a l enterpr ises are businesses. Social enterprise is the buzzword in government presently and we should use that focus to help build a prosperous social enterprise sector across the Eastern Region – one that should particularly focus on social inclusion and the reformed delivery of public services. He noted that Business Links have not been as responsive to the needs of social enterprises in past as they could have been. A role of the one regional Business Link, recently announced (see page 3 for further information), will be to continue to provide generic elements of support but also very specific ones for social enterprises and other specialist streams such as farming and tourism. EEDA has supported social enterprise and Richard assured delegates that it will continue to do so. Past contributions from EEDA include: assisting in the establishment of SEEE and its strategy for the Eastern Region, the establishment of nearbuyou the trading website, core funding for the Judge Institute Masters course and the research on Emmaus Cambridge’s social return on investment (SROI) which has levered millions of pounds for Emmaus nationally. David Lloyd
No 15 Summer 2006
ocial Enterprise East of England’s first AGM took place on the sunny afternoon and evening of Wednesday 14 June at Girton College, Cambridge. It was attended by a nearcapacity group of over 120 people from social enterprises and other organisations working in the social enterprise field in the region. Neil Stott, acting chair of SEEE, opened the event by introducing the recently appointed SEEE Chief Executive, Michele Rigby. Michele took the opportunity to discuss a key problem for social enterprises – communication. People start social enterprises because they have belief and a social responsibility, yet they often lack business experience or the knowledge of where to go for help. Part of SEEE’s role is to be a link between social enterprises themselves and the agencies that can advise, help and partner with them.
SEEE’s key role
Neomari Training Centre
Community Music East
Business for People
Watford Asian Community Care
The Ferry Project
Keystone Development Trust
Sub Regional Networks Gareth Gault (Essex)
Essex Coalition of Disabled People
Jane Taylor (Norfolk)
Norfolk Social Enterprise Network
Celia Hodson (Cambs & Peterborough)
CCDA/ The Social Enterprise People
Elaine McCorriston (Hertfordshire)
Herts Business Link/ EEIDB
Garth McKenzie (Bedfordshire)
Bedfordshire County Council
Cynthia Schears (Suffolk)
Partners Andy Brady
Anglia Ruskin University
The Guild, Norfolk
Regional Umbrella Groups Karen Anderson
Social Firms UK, Eastern Region
Herts Business Link/ EEIDB
Development Trusts Association
After Michele’s introduction, the audience were invited to ask questions. In response to one question, Michele reemphasised a key message of SEEE: that it is a membership organisation that is guided and operated by its members (see box for the membership categories and directors). It is a voice, a facilitator and a network for social enterprises in the eastern region. Networking takes time, so SEEE has launched virtual coffee mornings via the free Skype telephony service (see box). However, Michele encouraged people to also make it along to the regular subregional networking meetings and to take advantage of the discussion threads on the member website, www.seee.co.uk. She emphasised that SEEE is not there to
Workshops Discussion 1: CIC, Shiny new thing or just spin? Presenter Abbie Rumbold is a solicitor with Bates, Wells and Braithewaite, who first introduced the possibility of a new company form, the Community Interest Company (CIC), to the cabinet. Now there are around 300 registered CICs. Abbie described the distinguishing features of a CIC and why this new company form was needed. Abbie has kindly agreed to write about CICs in the next issue InTouch.
duplicate other services, but rather to provide value added as a voice for organisations operating in the field in the region, as well as providing such facilities as the SEEE website, InTouch the quarterly newsletter, and InTouch Express, the monthly e-zine.
Informative discussion groups
The programme moved on to two sessions where the attendees had pre-selected one of three discussion groups for each session. These presentations can be found in the forums area of the SEEE website – www.seee.co.uk/interactive and short synopses of each are in the boxes on this double page. A lively networking coffee break was followed by our keynote speaker, Richard Ellis, Chair of EEDA – see page one article.
The AGM and the election of SEEE directors
After Richard’s presentation, Neil Stott made short shrift of the agenda before the election of directors. There were enough applicants to require elections for the social enterprise and partner organisation categories of directors. See SEEE director chart.
A relaxed end to a full day
A sunny evening with a buffet on the quadrangle lawn gave the opportunity for some “speed-networking”, where social enterprises were able to discuss their challenges with two other organisations before rotating to two others. However, it became noticeable that the food and wine presented a somewhat more attractive option after a full and informative day, and eventually the organisers To view presentations from the accepted that speed workshops and speeches at the AGM, was no longer a and to follow up on the discussions, go priority as delegates to www.seee.co.uk/interactive and click networked in a on the word ‘Forums’ at the top of the far more laid back screen. fashion.
SEEE virtual coffee mornings
Our virtual coffee mornings will take place each week on Friday mornings via Skype, commencing at 11.00 am.
What is Skype?
Skype is a free telephony service that runs over the internet. Skype user to Skype user calls are free, and you can phone any non-Skype landline or mobile (if available) in the world at the cost of a local call. Skype includes chat (text) and conference (phone) facilities, and we plan to use the “instant chat” option for the virtual coffee mornings. The program is free and available from http://www.skype.com/ where you will also find further information. You will need a Skype compatible headset or telephone in order to use the phone service, but not to use the instant chat service – just a PC, Skype and an Internet connection (use same instructions as in green box above). Please note that neither SEEE nor InTouch have any business relationship with Skype and you download and install Skype at your own risk.
Discussion 2: Negotiating and managing public sector contracts Keith Smith of the Ferry Project explained how they have secured a major new partnership with the Luminus Group. Many people feel that the homeless just want to take, but this project shows just what the homeless can do and how much they want to contribute to society. This is an excellent example of social enterprises moving away from grant dependency. Discussion 3: Change Management Management consultant Peter Vince took delegates through the different aspects of change management: the nature and objectives of the change; getting the support of stakeholders; selecting people to lead the change; making sure they have the necessary skills, information, facilities, and support; understanding the dependencies between different elements of the change; working out the best way to break it into stages; and planning each stage effectively. Discussion 4: Social Return on Investment Presented by Tim Page, a director of Emmaus UK, This was an opportunity to find out about SORI, Social Accounting and Auditing. How do you measure the social impact of an organisation? How do organisations make themselves accountable? What social auditing measures are appropriate in what circumstances? What does the process involve? Tim explained some of the tools and techniques used by Emmaus. Discussion 5: Social Replication Sally Reynolds, CEO of Social Firms UK, explained that there are a number of programmes promoting and using various forms of replication to develop social enterprises both within the UK and across Europe. Sally’s discussion on the pros and cons was based on the recent Flagship Firms initiative which tested assisted replication, licensing and franchising. The initiative indicated that the further along the scale from replication through to full franchising, the more onerous the requirements and the less likely the model would work for organisations, like social firms, where a high percentage of employees have disabilities. The results of this Phoenix-funded project should be available soon and, judging from Sally’s insightful and painfully honest assessments, will be of great value for organisations considering replication, licensing or franchising. Discussion 6: Building an online social enterprise community Andy Brady of Anglia Ruskin University has been the enthusiastic and imaginative champion of the SEEE and SEEE interactive websites. In a very “hands-on” session, he demonstrated the benefits of the www.seee.co.uk: finding out and advertising courses and events; communicating with others and benefiting from regional expertise in the discussion forums; and accessing valuable resources and information. Andy stressed that the website was just one method of SEEE achieving its objective of being a member-led, vibrant and valuable network for social enterprises in the East of England.
No 15 Summer 2006
Partnerships: a key to financial inclusion
postcard.qxp 03/02/2006 12:40 Page 1
Your ________ MPs____ nam____ e ____
Pleas e write to Gerry Sutcli ffe MP, Minist er for Consumer Affairs, and call on him to: put a cap on the sky-hi gh APR fees charged by home credit companies; requir e home credit compa nies to pass on their custom ers repayment records to credit refere agencies, so that borrow nce ers can build up a good credit histor y and access more afford able credit elsewhere; and guara ntee the right to a basic bank account for every UK citizen. Finally, if you have not already, please sign EDM 1068 and show your suppo rt for ending the extort ion of people on low incomes.
Your ________ MPs____ nam____ e ____ MP House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Organised by
ADDRESS: xp 03/02/2006 12:40 Page 2 postcard.q
To find out the name of
ffering financial inclusion support for residents cuts down on arrears … it helps to build and sustain healthy neighbourhoods that people want to live and stay in, fulfilling the ultimate objective of every housing association” – Jon Rouse, Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation in his foreword to “Community Access to Money: housing associations leading on financial inclusion” (November 2005).
Social housing providers take a lead
Social housing providers are increasingly taking a lead on the financial inclusion agenda. At a practical level we are trying to develop pathways to financial inclusion by developing partnerships with advice agencies and the community finance sector, but we are also campaigning for legislative changes. This interest in financial inclusion is a natural step for housing associations interested in a business bottom line, but as social businesses we are have an equal interest in social returns. We know that 60% of financially excluded people live in social housing, either housing association or council properties, and we are therefore a key player in developing and channelling appropriate financial products and services. For instance my own organisation, Cambridge Housing Society, has a long established partnership with Cambridge Building Society, to provide low cost loans and enhanced savings accounts to all of our residents in the Cambridge sub-region. The inspiration for our partnership was the financial underwriting principles developed by Homeless International for its work in India and South America. Now we have a robust model, we are exploring ways in which we can extend its reach to residents of other housing associations in the area. However, this approach is possibly the thin end of the wedge. Other initiatives across the country include Notting Hill Housing’s innovative work on the home ownership agenda, testing new ways of supporting tenants both to get into the habit of saving and to purchase a share in their home. Many social housing providers have developed either
No 15 Summer 2006
The National Housing Federation's Debt on our Doorstep campaign is trying to persuade the Government to provide a realistic alternative to doorstep lenders
Cambridge Housing Society has a long established partnership with Cambridge Building Society to provide low cost loans and enhanced savings accounts to its residents in the Cambridge sub-region
your MP call 020 7219
arms length or insure with rent schemes to cover residents’ home contents, and a significant number of housing associations have been influential in setting up community development finance initiatives across the country. For further examples take a look at http://www.inbiz.org/files/documents/iNfact10_Financial_ Inclusion
Debt on our Doorstep campaign
On top of these practical interventions our trade association, the National Housing Federation, is leading a campaign with Debt on our Doorstep to try to persuade the Government to provide a realistic alternative to doorstep lenders. The campaign calls for: • the right to a basic bank account for every UK citizen; • a cap on the sky-high APR fees charged by home credit companies; and • a requirement for home credit companies to pass on their customers’ repayment records to credit reference agencies, so that borrowers can build up a good credit history and access more affordable credit elsewhere. For further details go to http://www.housing.org.uk/policy/view. asp?id=37 The Government recently recognised the importance of housing associations as key players in the financial inclusion agenda with the announcement of a £20m fund for housing associations and other bodies to help people on low incomes access financial services. So, if you’re developing financial inclusion initiatives locally, be sure to talk to your local housing association. At the very least, they are your route to market.
Andrew Church, Cambridge Housing Society T: 01223 713555 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.cambridgehs.com
Sharing Knowledge about Community Enterprise in the East
n April 6th 2006 Judge Business School, University of Cambridge hosted the third Community Enterprise Research Conference. Delegates at the conference were invited to share knowledge, exchange ideas and challenge conventional thinking about the role and future of social and community enterprise. Entitled “Sharing Knowledge: Current and Future Community Enterprise Research” the day provided a unique opportunity to learn about current and future research undertaken by students enrolled on the Master’s degree in Community Enterprise at Judge Business School. The conference brought together academic faculty, practitioners and policy makers for discussion and debate about key issues in the social economy.
A wide range of presentations and research
The conference included keynote speakers, and research presentations from current students and recent graduates. Peter Ramsden, the first keynote speaker, is a leading exponent of enterprise led renewal in Europe. Peter presented a critical and thought provoking account of the support infrastructure for social enterprises in the UK. He drew on an example of an enterprise agency working in the Netherlands to propose a radical new model for delivering business advice through mentors and coaches, to complement the formal structures such as Business Link. Peter was followed by Dr Paul Tracey and Dr Maria Di Domenico who presented their results from a UK survey of partnerships and collaboration involving community enterprises. The survey had gathered data on the frequency, extent, process and outcomes of partnerships between community enterprises and either the public or private sectors. The results revealed that partnerships between community enterprises and public sector organisations occurred more frequently than those with corporate partners. Typically, community enterprises were involved in partnerships with multiple organisations, and this created challenges in relation to power relations, exerting influence and maintaining control over outcomes. The survey is part of a three year research project which will be completed in 2007. Presentations from six current students then outlined research that they will conduct in the coming months. The proposed research projects embraced a wide range of themes relevant to community enterprise including: stakeholder theory and strategic decision-making; the challenges of building credible institutions of social inclusion during post-conflict stabilization; governance issues in the African voluntary/community sector in the UK; accountability of partners in cross-sector collaboration; community enterprise and public service delivery contracting; and business information networks. Presenter Donald Bray said “The conference forum allowed me to present my research topic and subject it to the informed constructive criticism of both academics and practitioners alike. As a result, I really feel that the end product now has a chance of making a valid contribution to the growing body of research in the field of social enterprise.”
Presentations from Master’s graduates
In the afternoon, eight students who had graduated in 2005 presented the research that they had completed in the second year of the course. These included Freda Owusu (Loan Fund Manager, London Borough of Merton) who gave an account of the causes and consequences of failure of social enterprises.
Andy Brady and Belinda Bell, two of the Masters students
Although media coverage tends to focus on successes in the social economy, the possibility of failure to achieve the triple bottom line is ever present in the sector. Freda’s research is especially valuable as it explores an issue rarely touched upon. Neil Stott (Chief executive, Keystone Development Trust) explored the strengths and weaknesses of the development trust model. Neil identified three key strategic tensions faced by Trusts as they attempt to achieve financial sustainability. Many community enterprises are embedded in values associated with religious faiths. Research completed by Joseph Main (Chief Executive, Community Regeneration North East) established critical propositions related to Christian and secular community enterprises, for example, the ‘position’ of Christian and secular organisations on a continuum of social action; the motivational factors of workers; and the mission constructs of the organisations in which those workers operated. Finally, Neil Berry investigated the pressures which a period of rapid growth had placed on organisational culture in three community enterprises. Neil found that the core values associated with the enterprise before the period of growth, when it was smaller, were unlikely to survive unchanged. He concluded that when a community enterprise embarks on a strategy of rapid growth, resources should be allocated to managing the inevitable pressures on the core values of the enterprise.
Vital to ground policy in evidence
In the final session of the conference, Professor Richard Taylor (Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge) endorsed the value of empirical research by linking the role of research evidence to policy making. He commented on the fundamental importance of grounding policy in evidence, and illustrated his presentation with a combination of examples of good and bad practice in the UK. The conference enabled delegates interested in community enterprise from the UK and overseas to network and share ideas. One delegate commented “The conference gave me an opportunity to hear from experts in the sector as well as information about organizations that I had no previous knowledge.” More information about the full range of conference presentations is available on www.jbs.cam.ac.uk Helen Haugh, Course Director
No 15 Summer 2006
The John Lewis vision: still fit for purpose?
n 2003, John Spedan Lewis, eldest son of the eponymous founder of the John Lewis stores, was voted Britain’s greatest business leader in a BBC poll. As well as being an outstanding business leader, he was also one of the greatest philanthropists this country has produced. Like all great philanthropists, he was also a visionary who, through his undoubted business acumen and understanding of market mechanisms, brought his dream of industrial democracy to fruition. Now, more than seventy-five years after the first Trust Settlement in 1929, the John Lewis Partnership is one of the top ten retail groups in the country and the longest surviving cooperatively owned business. In the quarter to the end of April 2006, the chain increased like-for-like sales by 8.7%, bettering Marks and Spencer’s strong showing of 8.2% and completely eclipsing rivals House of Fraser and Debenhams.
Finding a better way
Speden Lewis joined the family business straight from school, and within a few years was given a quarter share in the business as well as being made a director of the family’s second store, Peter Jones in west London. It was during this time that he realised that the Lewis family’s income was equivalent to the earnings of the entire workforce of their two stores. This realisation had an impact on him and started him thinking that there must be a better way. However, it was during a two year period of convalescence following a serious riding accident that he began to refine his ideas.
No 15 Summer 2006
By Howard Tait
Upon his return to work he began to implement some of these ideas, which brought him into conflict with his father. As a result of the subsequent estrangement, Spedan Lewis withdrew from the main company and assumed full control of the Peter Jones store. There he started his experiments in industrial democracy. Despite the fact that the store was loosing money, he reduced the working hours of his staff, started the Gazette, the in-house magazine, with the ruling that questions sent anonymously to the Gazette must be answered within three weeks by the relevant manager, and instituted the Council for Communication, both of which still exist today. Despite these and other innovative ideas, he turned a loss-making business into a profitable one. The death of his mother brought reconciliation between Spedan Lewis and his father and in 1928, after his father’s death, he inherited the entire business. The 1920s were a time of rapid change. The impact of the First World War and the Russian Revolution were reverberating around the world. Attitudes and society were changing. The Cooperative movement, founded in the 1850s, and the Labour Party continued to grow and all of this had an influence on Spedan Lewis.
Capitalist versus Socialist solution?
Although the Cooperative movement was growing overall, many cooperative ventures were started only to flounder a few years later, a fact of which Spedan Lewis was well aware. Many of them failed through a lack of commercial realism and, in
Feature the worst cases, seemed to act as if their pure motives could somehow suspend the laws of the marketplace. If the Cooperative movement was the socialist way of achieving democratic ownership, the Spedan Lewis model was the capitalist way of achieving the same outcome. His model used market mechanisms to achieve its aims and was based as much on commercial realism as it was on industrial democracy and enlightened self-interest.
A model still fit for purpose?
I spoke to Nigel Brotherton, until recently the director for corporate affairs and now the Partnership Counsellor, responsible for ensuring that the Partnership’s values and democratic systems are upheld, to find out if a model devised in the 1920s was still fit for purpose in the 21st century. Times and commercial conditions change and those businesses which don’t or cannot change to meet the demands of the new conditions don’t survive. I asked him if the John Lewis model, constrained as it is by both the Trust and its constitution, is flexible enough to meet the challenge of changing demands. He told me “Spedan Lewis built a lot of flexibility into the system. The Council has the power to amend the constitution which gives us the ability to make any adjustments that might become necessary as times change.” He added that from a management point of view, being a partnership gives managers a direct link with the workforce which gives them an edge over their competitors. The democratic ownership of the business does sometimes slow the decision making process when it comes to major changes but on a day–to-day basis, “Managers are free to make decisions but whereas in most businesses, managers worry about the effect their decisions might have on the share price, managers in the Partnership worry about how they would answer letters to the Gazette about the decisions they make”. I asked him if the ethos of the partnership had changed over time. He replied that the core beliefs were unchanged but that, “we may change the way that we do it but not what we do”.
As well as flexibility, Spedan Lewis also built into his model a series of checks and balances which are still in use today. In addition to having a functioning democracy and the freedom to write letters to the Gazette, partners also have recourse to the Registry. The registrars are the ‘tribunes’ of the Partnership to which any partner can go to with any complaints they may have. Although outside of the management hierarchy, registrars are of equal rank to the managers they deal with. The Registry is responsible for ensuring that the Partnership’s values are adhered to and also for running and maintaining the democratic process. Spedan Lewis said “The purpose of the John Lewis Partnership is simply the happiness of its members” and that he wanted something for the partners to “live for as well as to live by”. While the John Lewis Partnership is obviously a successful commercial venture as Spedan Lewis intended it to be, it must also be judged on the degree to which its democratic ownership improves the lot of its individual partners.
Staff happier when the model is more closely applied
As is only to be expected in such a large organisation with over 60,000 members, the partners’ experience is not uniform throughout the business. Most of the partners I spoke to – but not all of them – believe that being a partner in John Lewis is considerably better than being an employee in a similar business. For the most part they feel that their voices are listened to and that if they do have a problem, the systems to deal with them are effective. A number of them told me that most people who have stayed with the Partnership for five years tend to stay there for their entire career and of those few who do leave many tend to return. However, not all of those I spoke to were entirely happy. The most common complaint was about management. As one partner who had worked in various branches explained to me, there are two types of managers, those who fully believe in the ethos of the business who are a delight to work under and others who concentrate on the business but who seem to have forgotten the ethos and purpose of it. In the latter case, the staff tend to be considerably less happy. However, this would seem to be an HR problem concerning individual managers, rather than a systemic failure, and by and large the checks and balances do seem to work. John Spedan Lewis
The proof of the pudding
The democratic process also seems to work and the clearest evidence for this is that while most companies are closing their final salary pension schemes with indecent haste, the partners voted to keep theirs. How much control the partners have over the business is open to debate, but the fact that they have enough control to secure their own futures must go a long way towards achieving the aims of the Partnership. While nothing created by humans can ever be perfect, the John Lewis Partnership has shown convincingly that a business can be democratically owned, socially responsible and still be profitable. Photographs reproduced by permission of John Lewis Partnership
No 15 Summer 2006
Resources unlimited For this section, we appreciate items of interest and resources of value to those working in the social enterprise field. Also, if you have any interesting news about your organisation, such as successes or new employees, let us know. Contact Peter Durrant: E: humberstone@pop3. poptel.org.uk; T: 01223 262759. From this issue we will no longer feature a ”Diary” section. This has been taken over by our monthly e-newsletter, InTouch Express. If you don’t yet receive this informative and free resource, go to www.seee.co.uk and click on the InTouch section in the left column. Use this link to also access back issues of InTouch (PDF) or InTouch Express (Word).
News Impact on social enterprise field of recent government reshuffle … The Prime Minister has appointed Hilary Armstrong as Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and the Cabinet Minister for Social Exclusion, based in the Cabinet Office. Social Firms UK explains: “The government’s recent m i n i s t e r i a l re s h u f f l e h a s resulted in the transfer of social enterprise policy from the Social Enterprise Unit at the DTI to the Cabinet Office. Hilary Armstrong has been appointed the new Minister for the Cabinet Office and Social Exclusion and there has been the creation of a new post, Minister For The Third Sector, which is now held by Ed Milliband [sic]. This set up brings together work which the Small Business Service has done on social enterprise with work that the home office has done on the area of active communities and is intended to give an overview for the third sector as a whole.” W: http://www.socialfirms. c o. u k / n e w s / i n d e x . p h p / item193.html In his letter of appointment of Hilary Armstrong, Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote:”You should also ensure that social e n t e r p r i s e s o l u t i o n s a re properly incorporated into the policies and programmes
of all relevant Government Departments, especially the DTI and its agencies, which should continue to promote social enterprise as a mainstream business model. You also need to ensure that the Government continues to provide the environment, and the appropriate business s u p p o r t a n d i n ve st ment , to help social enterprise to flourish and to help deliver the Government’s policy goals.” More at: W: www.number10. gov.uk/output/Page9391.asp and www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/ latest/060508ministers.asp
… and SEC responds to new social enterprise figures The Social Enterprise Coalition has responded to the new figures for social enterprise announced by Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector. According to the Government’s Annual Small Business Survey 2005 and existing data for the social e n t e r p r i s e s e c t o r, t h e r e are at least 55,000 social enterprises in the UK with a combined turnover of £27 billion per annum. Social enterprises account for 5% of all businesses with employees and contribute £8.4 billion per year to the UK economy – that’s almost 1% of annual GDP. More on: W: http://www. cooperatives-uk.coop/live/ welcome.asp?id=1037
No 15 Summer 2006
Eastern region’s enterprising charities Research shows that charities in the East of England generate the highest proportion of their annual income from the sale of goods and services than any other region in the country. A new report by Guidestar UK, a charity data website, reveals that on average, 59.9% of charity income in the East of England comes from sales. A regional analysis places charities in our region at the top for generating their own income. In the past, the voluntary sector was distinguished from other sectors because it was largely funded by grants and donations. However it is now more common to earn income by selling products and services, which often includes activities to generate funds. These social enterprise activities are driving the s e c t o r’s e c o n o m y i n o u r region. There are 19,431 charities in our region. The most popular charitable causes are the care and welfare of children and young people. The average number of paid staff in a charity is 2.5 in the East of England. Charities in this region have one of the highest levels of charitable spend in the country, meaning that a large percentage of income from all sources goes directly to the beneficiaries. Information provided by The Guild, Norwich. W: www.theguild.co.uk
Social enterprise and community-based care “Community-based organisations risk being left behind in the race to enter the primary care market unless the government does more to support them”, according to a recent report from the King’s Fund, an independent charitable foundation working f o r b e t t e r h e a l t h .” So c i a l Enterprise and Communitybased Care” suggests that the government could do more to
help those seeking to set up social enterprise organisations. See the press release at: W: http://www.kingsfund. org.uk/news/press_releases/ kings_fund_62.html, or obtain a PDF of the publication at W: www.kingsfund.org.uk/ resources/publications/social. html
Social enterprise in health and social care A briefing paper on health and social care policy from the Social Enterprise Coalition, which is seeking a greater role for social enterprise in the delivery of health and social care services, can be downloaded from the Social Enterprise Network pages of the NHS Networks site. W: www.networks.nhs.uk/ networks.php? pid=155
Employment rates of disabled people This new report from the Department for Work and Pensions has just been published. Get it from: W : w w w. d w p . g o v. u k / asd/asd5/rports2005-2006/ rrep298.pdf
Are we a social enterprise? Thanks to David Neilan at Her ts County Council for a checklist from Social Firms UK.”The Values-Based Checklist For Social Firms” is described as a tool for plotting progress, it aims to define and describe social firms in some detail. See for yourself – take a look at W: www.socialfirms. co.uk
Acas warns employers to meet age discrimination challenge now A c a s , t h e e m p l oy m e n t relations organisation, has launched new guidance to help employers understand how imminent age discrimination legislation will affect them. With over 600,000 employees in the East of England aged between 50 and the Statutory Pension Age, Acas are warning employers to act now before
Resources unlimited the legislation comes into force in October. The new regulations make it unlawful for employers, directly or indirectly, to discriminate against someone due to age. Its new guidance - Age and the Workplace – is available online on W: www.acas.org. uk. or from its publications order line, T: 08702 429090.“Social Enterprise
and Community-based Care”
Is there a future for mutually-owned organisations in community and primary care? Authors: Richard Lewis, Peter Hunt, David Carson April 2006, ISBN 1 85717 546 8, 32 pages, £5.00. Publication free in PDF format at W: www.kingsfund.org.uk/ document.rm?id=6347
Catching ‘em young A 28-page guide to careers in social enterprise – Work To Live – from Social Enterprise London. Download it from W: www.sel.org.uk
Introducing the Rural Gateway The Rural Gateway service has been launched as a single access point of access, to help our region’s increasing number of rurally-based businesses to grow. Perhaps your business is at an early stage and you are seeking advice on how to get started or your business is already well established but you need practical help or advice. If you require any information or advice, contact your local Rural Enquir y Officer on T: 0845 600 9006, E : nicola.scanlon@cambs. businesslinc.co.uk or W: www. cambs.businesslink.co.uk
Routes to Enterprise for the Third Sector Lots of short, interesting articles including pieces from government ministers, enterprise profiles and coverage of themes such as being professional and governance. A 40-page copublication from Social Enterprise Magazine
a n d AC E VO ( A s s o c i a t i o n of Chief Executives of Vo l u n t a r y O r g a n i s a t i o n s. F r e e t o d ow n l o a d f r o m W: www.socialenterprisemag. co.uk/upload/documents/ document26.pdf.
Training and Learning Qualifications for credit unions A Certificate in Credit Union Practice for those working in the Credit Union movement (volunteer, officer or employee) has been designed by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland with Association o f Br i t i s h Cre d i t Un i o n s Limited. It covers the law and practice throughout the UK. See ABCUL news item at W: www.abcul.coop/page/ news.cfm#295 (large page), or pdf leaflet, 482kb, at W: http://snipurl.com/r7qe
Free training for advice and supporter staff The Performance Hu b a n n o u n c e d i t s n e w programme of free regional training. Between June 2006 and February 2007. There will be five courses, which will each be delivered in the Eastern Region. • a n i n t r o d u c t i o n t o performance improvement • quality assurance • strategic planning • monitoring and evaluation • benchmarking The Hub is particularly keen to receive bookings from those supporting black and minority ethnic, rural, faith or social enterprise organisations. Fo r f u r t h e r d e t a i l s, o r to book a place, visit the Performance Hub website at W : www.performancehub. org.uk/givingsupport or E: mentors@performancehub. org.uk or T: 020 7078 9381.
Social enterprise and women: start-up courses The University of Ca m b r i d g e’s In s t i t u t e o f Co n t i n u i n g E d u c a t i o n i s running a number of courses
in social enterprise and a specialist business star tup course for women in t h e Au t u m n . In n ov a t i o n and opportunities in social enterprise, developing a social e n t e r p r i s e, a n d b u s i n e s s planning and marketing start in September, January 2007 and April 2007 respectively and can be accessed in either Chelmsford or Cambridge. Enterprising women starts in September and is based in Cambridge. Further details on all courses: T: 01954 280 399 or E: email@example.com. ac.uk.
Finance, Funding & Awards Big Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities Fund
on 15 November. Enterprise Insight would like you to”Make Your Mark – start talking ideas”. Last year over 400,000 people took part in activities throughout the week. To find out how you can get involved W: www.enterpriseweek.org
New Futurebuilders application form F u t u re b u i l d e r s w i l l b e staying open for applications as of May 2006. It is changing its application process, from fixed windows to continuous opening, in order to respond better to the needs of the voluntary and community sector. W: www.futurebuildersengland.org.uk
Comic Relief – no laughing matter!
This is the biggest new national opportunity for organisations committed to improving local communities and the lives of people most in need. Minimum grant: £10,001, Maximum grant: £500,000 Total available: year one – £100m W: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/
Comic Relief have a shortage of good applications from the East of England. So take a look at the Comic Relief website W : w w w. c o m i c r e l i e f . com for details, and E: firstname.lastname@example.org for some notes on things the website doesn’t tell you. (Raiser).
Enterprising Solutions Award 2006 Could you be the winner of this year’s Enterprising Solutions Award? The annual search continues for the UK’s most dynamic and innovative social enterprises. The Awards - run by the SEC on behalf of the Small Business Service, RBS and NatWest, celebrate the best social enterprises from any sector, of any size, and of any legal structure. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of £10,000. Three other finalists and the winner of the New Social Enterprise award will receive £5,000. For further information and to download an application form please visit W: www. enterprisingsolutions.org or E: email@example.com This year’s Enterprise Week runs from 13-19 November, with Social Enterprise Day
Thinking of advertising that job? In May InTouch Express pulled 50% more responses for a CCDA job ads than a £2400+ ad in a local daily newspaper! Advertise a job in InTouch Express for £50 (100 words max including contact details) or FREE if your organisation is a SEEE member. To advertise, contact David Lloyd, E: firstname.lastname@example.org To join SEEE, go to W: www. seee.co.uk
Acknowledgements to organisations whose ezines and websites we have accessed to bring Resources Unlimited to you. In particular: ABCUL, CCORNN, Cooperatives UK, COVER, Plunkett Foundation, Raiser, SEC, SEN, Update
No 15 Summer 2006
Driving Your Social Enterprise Forward
Are you heading in the right direction?
By Sally Reynolds Cheif executive Officer Social Firms UK
informed the production of the final software version launched October 2005 to Social Firms UK members. Some of the feedback during this process was received as follows: Ted Fisher, Newco: ‘Dashboard will be a useful addition because it is more suitable for non-financial based measurements than our existing controls. It also provides quite detailed information in a clear and easily understood format.’ Myles Cooper, MillRace-IT: ‘we think of it like a fish tank, a little complicated and needs patience at first, but with regular maintenance is very straightforward. A couple of hours ‘regular maintenance’ every week or fortnight from manager/team input should keep it relevant and useful.’ Alistair Ponton, Busters Coffee Merchants: ‘As a tool I think it is suitable as it is user-friendly and one that we need to improve our business. Regarding the content of the template, some of the objectives and measures were not relevant and seemed a little contrived, but was generally a good basis for our Dashboard.’ The involvement of the pilot firms in the product development and improvement proved invaluable to Social Firms UK. Scope for the Dashboard While the Dashboard is primarily a performance management tool rather than an impact measurement tool, the software is extremely flexible and could serve several purposes. Sally sums up the experience from Social Firms UK’s perspective: ‘We honestly had no idea when we set out down this road that we would be producing such a versatile and useful tool for the whole of the social enterprise sector, rather than just our own membership. It’s been a real eye-opener. The key is to keep the data inputting regular and maintained – you will get out of it what you put into it as a management team.’
f you’re not sure where you’re going or how you’re going to get there, let alone how to communicate that to others, then you might be interested in the Performance Dashboard launched recently by Social Firms UK. And in the rear view mirror we have as background… Social Firms UK was one of the partners within the EQUAL funded Social Enterprise Partnership (SEP) which finished on 14th November 2005. Other partners included the DTA, nef, SEL, Co-operatives UK and SEC. A central theme in the project was Quality and Impact and the production of the Toolkit recently to the sector (see www.proveandimprove. org) led by nef formed much of the programme’s work. Alongside the development of the Toolkit, the DTA, Co-operatives UK and Social Firms UK also undertook to adapt quality and impact tools for their specific sub-sectors of social enterprise. Social Firms UK undertook to try and adapt the Balanced Scorecard for Social Firms. Creating the Dashboard During the consultation and pilot phase with its members, Social Firms UK recognised that the key to producing any tool was to ‘keep it simple’. Social Firms, like any other types of social enterprise, are businesses with scarce resources to invest in intensive measurement initiatives. However, the measuring of performance within the social enterprise sector generally is important and is going to become increasingly crucial as investors, contractors, funders and other stakeholders start requesting evidence of a social enterprise’s social impact. Learning from a brief pilot the project team at Social Firms UK went back to the drawing board in June
2004. With the overriding message of ‘keeping things simple’ in mind, this small national support agency then decided to use its knowledge of Social Firms to predict what the objectives of a Social Firm should be and feature these in the software. It opted to keep the Balanced Scorecard principle of the different perspectives so that people are obliged to maintain a healthy balance across the main areas of their business (customers, finance, employees and internal business processes) and also added two optional perspectives that it predicted social enterprises might be interested in: trainees and environmental. The second phase of creating template objectives and measures within each perspective lasted 18 months in total and resulted in the Performance Dashboard. The idea is that the objectives and their corresponding measures can be used as they are or tailored by the user. It is then for the social enterprise to gather their baseline data and from that set their own targets and outline the actions that need to happen to realise their targets against each objective. Following a consultative development phase, piloting with 6 social enterprises For further information about the Dashboard began in May 2005. Their feedback on please contact Social Firms UK: CD-Rom software; testing out the Dashboard within Tel: 01737 764021; One-off licence obtained from Social Firms UK; Email: email@example.com their own firms was received by the Template provides a set of objectives and corresponding www.socialfirms.co.uk end of July 2005 and these comments measures which can either be used as they are or adapted to the needs of the social enterprise; Multiple help files throughout the software and the booklet of User Instructions are provided; Resources folder which contains a host of template documents; Social Firms seek to create good quality jobs for disabled people within supportive The Dashboard requires Microsoft Excel for some and successful businesses. Social Firms Eastern Region is working across the region processes; to support these enterprises, as well as organizations aiming to become Social Firms, Quarterly data collection period is recommended; in conjunction with extensive resources offered by its national partner Social Firms UK (www.socialfirms.co.uk). Reports and performance summaries can be printed; Any update versions emailed to licensed users directly at no For further information about Social Firms please contact: additional cost. Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Louise (email@example.com).
Main Features of the Dashboard • • •
• • • • • •
Social Firms Eastern Region Contact Details
No 15 Summer 2006