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Open data initiative a ‘game changer’ for the social enterprise sector

A joint open data initiative will allow people for the first time to track money spent by local authorities and central government on social enterprises. 

Delivered by Social Enterprise UK and the Cabinet Office, the data release will make it easier to understand the range of products and services that social enterprises offer. 

A new dashboard was launched on International Open Data Day (Saturday 21 February) to help users analyse this data, and the full dataset behind the Buy Social Directory will be made freely available next month via Social Enterprise UK’s website. 

Users can uncover the amount of money spent on social enterprises by total spend and region, the hub also enables users to analyse the top social enterprise suppliers by financial year. 

Peter Holbrook CBE, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “The growing social enterprise sector provides public authorities with a new way to do business and we can now see how they are taking advantage of it. 

“The data initiative will lead to greater accountability throughout public bodies, in regards to their respective spend and procurement. It will be a game changer for our members because, for example, they can identify and target markets that are increasingly using social enterprises.” 

The new data on the Social Enterprise UK website will also help improve accountability around the use of the Social Value Act and help set benchmarks for its use. This tool is based on the data from the Buy Social Directory, which is a comprehensive index of over 10,000 social enterprises throughout the UK. 

Minister for civil society Rob Wilson MP said: “The UK has the world’s largest social enterprise sector and providing data on over 10,000 businesses will give a powerful insight into how social enterprises work.

“Giving access to data will open up opportunities and demonstrate how these organisations invest their profits locally so that businesses can have a positive impact on communities and the environment.” 

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