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Entries from May 2012

Alternative Democracy – Future Models

May 31st, 2012 · Comments

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Social Enterprise & Migrant & BME Communities

May 25th, 2012 · Comments

LeandroSepulveda.jpg -  bytes This is a podcast by Leandro Sepulveda who is a Principal Researcher at TSRC and the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University Business School. His research provides evidence of the move towards what the current national policy discourse defines as social enterprise (SE) within an area of highly diverse population.

The findings demonstrate that defining and measuring the ethnic minority SE sector as an object of study or policy intervention is more complex than is portrayed in the policy rhetoric and this has important consequences for its incorporation into the policy process.

They also show that a relatively high number of BME VCO organisations have being compelled to reinvent themselves and adopt income generating survival strategies (or social enterprise) to fund their core mission resulting in reduced dependency on grant funding but increased and potentially fatal financial vulnerability.

The vast majority of ethnic minority organisations have not engaged with the notion of social enterprise and continue to feel more comfortable with the ethos and values of VCOs and charities. Indeed for many, movement towards the social enterprise model is seen as part of the development of a more hostile policy environment towards the BME sector.

These findings do not downplay the significance of the considerable ethnic minority social enterprise activity that is evident on the ground. Many organisations that are playing key roles in serving and supporting BME communities have also embraced the social enterprise policy agenda and material conditions in deprived areas provide demand for such services.

However ethnic minority social enterprise activity is being reduced in practice to a narrow arena for action mainly focused upon the delivery of public services.

In term of the policy process, the evidence presented here of disengagement between the policy discourse and SE activity on the ground raises concerns that recent policy developments have acted to marginalise rather than include ethnic minority organisations.

Without access to ongoing support to develop their capacities many BME organisations will be unable to survive let alone become 'contract ready' and hence gain equitable access to public service contracts.

BME organisations must therefore confront this radically changed environment to identify a basis for sustained operation which at the same time seeks to retain their autonomy, social objectives and political voice. The Social Enterprise form may provide one, although not the only, means of achieving this.

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Social Enterprise & The Homeless

May 15th, 2012 · Comments

This podcast is one of three that we are producing that addresses the ways different types of social enterprise can address disadvantage. In this Podcast we focus on homelessness and unemployment. In doing so, we hope to draw out the inherent tensions between social and economic goals, and to understand ways in which social enterprises can balance these in order to achieve their social goals.

To discuss this with us we have Simon Teasdale who has been involved in the field of social enterprise for 15 years, beginning at the Big Issue in the North in the early 1990s. Since then he has been employed as a researcher at the Institute for Volunteering Research and Crisis, while lecturing part time on the University of East London’s BA Social Enterprise. He moved to Birmingham in 2009 to take up a position as research fellow within Third Sector Research Centre who has helped us developed our podcasts and events around social enterprise and marginalised groups.

Social enterprises have achieved widespread recognition over the last decade. In England the notion that social enterprises successfully combine social and commercial goals led to them being given a prominent role in a range of policy area. This has been particularly apparent in the homelessness field where a policy discourse presents social enterprise as a way to help homeless people access secure employment and so escape social exclusion.

It is important to note the strong policy message that employment is the sustainable solution to homelessness, and that work integration social enterprises are primarily placed as a vehicle that can facilitate this solution.

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ICoCo Conference - The Minister’s Views

May 5th, 2012 · Comments

At the ICoCo Ease With Each Other conference, speakers & delegates explored the Government’s new approach, considered alternatives and focused on practical concerns and issues for policy makers and those responsible for delivery. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss pertinent issues for the UK’s social agenda and the wider context of integration and increasing diversity in an age of austerity.

Two ministers attended this conference and we interviewed them about some of their views

The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

Eric Pickles MP was appointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 12 May 2010. In 2009, David Cameron appointed Eric Pickles MP Chairman of the Conservative Party. He joined the Shadow Cabinet in 2007 as the Department for Communities and Local Government Secretary having served from August 2005 to July 2007 as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Other posts he has held include Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions; Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Minister for London; member of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party, with special responsibility for local government affairs and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tim Sainsbury MP, Minister for Industry. Eric Pickles has been Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992. He was educated at Greenhead Grammar School (a comprehensive), Keighley, and Leeds Polytechnic. He is married and a trustee of two local charities - Brentwood Foyer and Brentwood Theatre.

Andrew Stunell MP

Andrew Stunell OBE MP was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government on 14 May 2010. Andrew Stunell was first elected as the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hazel Grove in 1997. He had previously served on Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, and on Cheshire County Council, and has written extensively on local government policy issues. In 2004, he steered his Private Members Act on Sustainable Buildings through Parliament. He is married to Gillian and they have five grown up children, two of whom are adopted. Andrew and Gillian live in Romiley, in the centre of the constituency. Andrew is a former Baptist lay preacher and an active member of Romiley Methodist Church.

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