Speaking at the YPO World of Procurement conference in London, Jonathan Bland, managing director of Social Business International (SBI), called for local authorities to pay attention to new research that found nine out of 10 people want public services to be carried out by “purpose-driven organisations”, and would prefer social enterprises – not the private sector – to deliver these services.
“The mood has changed,” says Bland. “The public want a model of outsourcing that they trust; one which uses profits to benefit society rather than building shareholder value.”
The YouGov research, commissioned by an SBI initiative that supports social enterprises, surveyed 2,062 members of the general public about their attitudes towards public service delivery. It reveals that people believe social enterprises would bring better value for money, higher expertise and higher social value. They “can provide local authorities with good value for money”, according to 42% of respondents, with only 19% believing the same can be said of the private sector.
While 37% of respondents agree social enterprises have the expertise to provide the services, only 26% believe the private sector does – and 51% feel it is a risk to outsource local services to the private sector.
Current enterprises specialising in public service include Catch22, a non-profit that delivers social care and health and wellbeing services, and the HCT Group, which provides local transport services.
Social enterprises make up £60bn of UK GDP and comprise 100,000 organisations.
Also at the conference Jeremy Brim, director at The Bid Toolkit, said he believes procurement professionals “need to do more to drive the sector by partnering with social enterprises, and push the message they are real organisations that deliver fantastic services”.