Lucy Wood. Information for social entrepreneurs. Tips on starting & running social enterprises

Communities & Local Government Localism Bill

What is the Localism Bill all about? I’ve picked up the main points from the plain English guide (Jan 11). The Localism Bill was published in December 2010 to shift power from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. The bill give Local Authorities (LA) more freedoms and powers the key point are:

New Freedoms and Flexibility to Local Government

Local authorities can only do what the law says the can do, this creates problems. The bill allows LA’s to do what they think is right and not be bound by legislation helping them to try new things (general power of competence). The bill will: Read the rest of this entry »


Brief overview of The big Society

When the coalition government came into power in May 2010 they set out their vision for building The Big Society. The Big Society is about “helping people to come together to improve their own lives. It’s about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities”. The Big Society vision focuses on three key areas:

  • Community empowerment: giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area. The governments planning reforms lead by Communities & Local Government will replace the old top-down planning system with real power for neighbourhoods to decide the future of their area. Read the rest of this entry »

Government, Social Enterprises

Report on Commissioning Social Enterprises

In July 2010 the Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC) published a report on Stimulating New Markets: commissioning Social Enterprises. The research sets out how commissioning can be used to create new social enterprise markets and what the barriers are to this happening. It is a guide to commissioners to help them to understand the market needs and how they can develop better commissioning methods to allow the market to grow. Here is a summary of the main points.

With a growing emphasis from government on decentralisation and looking for more cost effective and efficient ways to deliver services, social enterprises are being hailed as a key solution. On current government figures there are an estimated 62,000 social enterprises operating in the UK which contribute more than £24 billion to the UK economy. Read the rest of this entry »


The History of Community Cohesion in the UK

Institute of Community Cohesion (ICoCo) is a great place to look at how community cohesion came about and what it actually means. Here’s a chronological summary of the thinking behind community cohesion, the policies that came into place to implement the thinking- good and bad, and organisations that were set up to deal with the community cohesion agenda.

2001: Community cohesion emerged  following the riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. As a result of these riots The Independent Community Cohesion Team published ” The Cantle Report”  setting out the the state of race and community relations, it was pivotal in understanding community cohesion.   Read the rest of this entry »


Importance of Social Networking Sites

Social Networking sites were put on the agenda at the recent European Commission Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg.

According to an eGov article in the past year, “the use of social networks has grown 35% in Europe. 56% of the European online population visited social networking sites last year and the number of regular users is forecast to rise from today’s 41.7 million to 107.4 million in the next four years. In 2007 9.6 million British belonged to the country’s social networking community, with 8.9 million in France and 8.6 million in Germany”.

The article goes on to say that on average in 2007 UK individuals spent 5.8 hours a month using sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc. That doesn’t seem so much until you see the figure for Italy which was only 1.8 hours!

The commission see that their are some great benefits to social networking sites such as:

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EU Launch Financial Transparency Website

Ever wondered where all the European Funding actually ends up? Well you can now find out as the EU have just launched a website and search engine  “Financial Transparency System” where you can get free access to all of the details of who receives EU funds. Currently the website houses about 28,000 entries on commission run programmes in areas such as education and culture, research, energy and transport and aid to third countries.

Through the website you will be able to analyse and compare information on beneficiaries and policy. European Commissioner Siim Kallas said: “We have always claimed that EU programmes benefit individuals, companies, and civil society across and beyond the 27 Member States. But this new part of the European Transparency Initiative enables any EU citizen to check what and when they want, and this allows for a very effective form of accountability – at the Commission’s level, but also for programme managers throughout the EU”

 Take a look at the Financial Transparency System.


What can the Office of the Third Sector offer?

office of the third sector - government image
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The government set up the office of the Third Sector in May 2006 to recognise the important role that the third sector plays in our society and economy. The amalgamation of the Home Office’s Active Communities Directorate and the Department of The Trade and Industry’s Social Enterprise Unit, the Office of the Third Sector now has the responsibility for driving social enterprise in the UK.

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