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Research shows people want public services delivered by social enterprises

New research conducted by YouGov shows people trust social enterprises more than private enterprises to deliver outsourced public services and believe they do so with more expertise, efficiency and value for money.

The findings demonstrate the public want to see a better model to deliver services, and would prefer local authorities to contract with purpose-driven organisations such as social enterprises than private enterprises.

Out of those who expressed a preference, 87% wanted outsourced services delivered by social enterprises rather than private enterprises.

Social enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives (such as a child care organisation redistributing profits from nurseries into care for vulnerable children). They reinvest their profits to support their social objectives into communities and to develop their businesses.

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A number of mature social enterprises already operate at scale, delivering public contracts with a “profit for a purpose” model.

The 2018 report by Social Enterprises UK, The Hidden Revolution: Analysis of the size and scale of the social enterprise sector, estimates that the approximate 100,000 social enterprises in the country provide £60bn a year to the UK GDP and employ over two million people.

YouGov asked a representative sample of 2,062 adults about their attitudes towards public service delivery. Most of the public (84%) were aware public bodies such as local councils and the NHS subcontracted some services to other businesses.

When asked to choose between social enterprises or private enterprises, the majority favoured the social option.

Speaking about the research, Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, chair of Social Enterprise UK, said: "This [YouGov] research confirms what Social Enterprise UK has found through our own work: the public wants value for money and value for people.

“The public knows social enterprise is the future of business and the future for providing public services."


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