Social enterprise update

20 February 2007
This second Policy Unit briefing on social enterprise reviews the announcement made by the DH of 25 "Pathfinder" social enterprises in the provision of health and social care and identifies the priorities which the RCN believes must be addressed if the social enterprise model is to form a meaningful part of the government's commitment to increasing the plurality of providers in health and social care.

Whilst acknowledging the potential for Social Enterprise to develop, compliment and enhance public sector provision of health and social care services, the RCN considers that:

  • Social Enterprise models of service provision should compliment rather than replace successful public sector provision
  • Social Enterprise models of service should not be encouraged simply as a means of driving down costs of provision of health and social care
  • The terms and conditions of employment for public sector workers should not be pit "at risk" as a result of their transfer into Social Enterprise models of provision
  • The future development of social enterprise and nurse entrepreneurs will depend upon an increasing investment in education, training and skills development for existing practitioners and the NHS workforce of the future
  • Nurses and public sector staff should be involved at the earliest possible stage in any proposal to re-provide services through a Social Enterprise model and have a continuing place in the governance of the service.

We furthermore believe that managerial and business issues relating the successful operation of a social enterprise need top be consider within the context of NHS provision including;

These represent some of the features that RCN will be considering as part of their survey of the operation and development of social enterprise in health and social care.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email

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