Social Enterprise Register

Ready for Business Newsletter

Posted in: General News

This is the third e-newsletter of 2014 from the team at Ready for Business and the last newsletter of the current programme. However from May onwards we will continue to keep you up to date about the progress of the next phase of the Developing Markets programme and other interesting news around commissioning and procurement.


Getting to know the new EU Procurement rules 
22nd April.  Dundee at Apex City Quay
30th April.  Edinburgh at MacRoberts LLP, Excel House

Don’t miss out on two free Ready for Business Procurement Events planned for April which will cover the new EU Procurement Directives. MacRoberts LLP are holding free seminars in Dundee and Edinburgh to discuss the Procurement law changes which the Directives seek to introduce and will cover what the New Directives mean for SMEs and the third sector.

More information.  


New EU Procurement Directive.  Make sure you keep up to date.  

We will be publishing shortly a Layman’s Guide to the Directive on the Ready for Business website.  This will cover the following key changes:

  • Removal of the distinction between part A and part B services - the new threshold at which the requirements under the European Directive will apply to these services Is raised to €750,000 (currently £625,050)
  • New “reserved right to participate” for organisations with a “public service mission”; and broadening the scope of who is eligible for reserved contracts / Sheltered Workshop programmes
  • Application of an “apply or explain” principle to encourage contracting authorities to divide contract opportunities into small lots
  • Further clarification on taking social considerations/use of community benefit clauses/requirements into account
  • New “Innovative Partnerships” procedure which  may be used to take forward initiatives such as public social partnerships

Investing in social enterprises

In case you missed the Chancellor’s Speech, The Finance Bill which was published last week, contains legislation to introduce a new Social Investment Tax Relief.  This is intended to encourage individuals to make ‘social investments’ in social enterprises and similar entities, offering a financial return and the prospect of social impact.  The relief should also help to raise the profile of social investments and social enterprise with individual taxpayers.  For the purposes of the relief a social enterprise is a community interest company, a community benefit society or a charity.  At present, each social enterprise will be able to raise around £290,000 over a three year period through the relief, and it is hoped to raise this limit once state aid approval is obtained.  However while welcomed as the new relief is in principle, it may not be as simple for investors to obtain this tax relief as many in the sector would have hoped.

See more.

New Procurement Opportunity created by the UK Government

Fair Chance Fund. 
Deadline for Expressions of Interest. 22 April 2014

The UK Government is inviting expressions of interest from service providers for a payment by results programme of up to £15m to improve outcomes for a group of young, homeless people (predominantly 18 to 24 year olds) whose needs are difficult to address using existing services but, if not addressed, are likely to lead to long term benefit dependency, health problems and increased crime.  The programme expects to move at least 2,500 homeless, young people not in education, employment or training into sustainable accommodation and at least 1,000 of those into sustained employment, education or training over 36 months - from January 2015 to December 2017.

Further information.

So what is Self-Directed Support (SDS)?

Around 100,000 people in Scotland are assessed for care in Scotland every year. Previously, only a relatively small number have been offered the chance to self-direct their own support. The new legislation gives everyone assessed as needing support the right to have these options.

The Self-directed Support (Scotland) Act 2013 places duties on local authorities in Scotland to offer people who are assessed as needing social care the option of designing their own care package. This could mean receiving a direct payment which they can use, for example, to employ their own support workers. They might choose to have the council hold the funds, while the individual decides how it is spent. Finally, they could opt for the council to arrange the support package for them. They can also choose a mix of all three options.  An individual can get access to self-directed support, including direct payments, if they have an assessed social care need. The only exception to this is if a local authority is providing support to individuals in the form of residential accommodation, in which case direct payments cannot be offered. There are specific safeguards in place to ensure direct payments are used appropriately.

To accompany the Act, the Scottish Government also launched a suite of guidance, including best practice guidance for users, carers and practitioners. There are also a number of organisations and projects nationally to build the capacity of independent support and information which will help to support individuals to make choices using self-directed support.

To add to your reading list in 2014

Big Contracts.  Commissioning public services for better outcomes
Authors: Dan Crowe, Tom Gash, Henry Kippin

This is a report based on a project between Collaborate and the Institute for Government, supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.  It sets out the experience of organisations and workers most closely involved in delivering complex services, such as adult social care, mental health drug and alcohol rehabilitation and special educational needs.  The key findings from this study included:

  • A shift to outcome-based contracts - But  commissioners still have doubts about their ability to understand outcomes, to engage the community in this process, and to measure and reward providers’ contributions appropriately;
  • Transferring financial risk - Commissioners are transferring more financial risk onto providers in the hope this will lead to innovation. However providers concerned about their financial survival are generally unwilling to take on further risks by doing things differently, and that this is undermining their ability to innovate through building close relationships with citizens and communities;
  • Relationships  - Due to the growth in sub-contracting and provider consortia, public sector commissioners are, in many service areas, becoming less connected to smaller and social sector providers.

See more.

Widespread recognition of the importance of involving the third sector in commissioning and procurement

The 2014 ‘Sustainable Commissioning/Procurement and the Third Sector’ survey by Ready for Business has identified a positive shift over the last two years in awareness of the third sector within the public sector commissioning/procurement community.  96% now regard an understanding of the third sector and what it can offer as relevant to their day to day work of contracting public services.  It was encouraging to get feedback that a quarter of respondents were aware of third sector organisations benefiting from implementation of community benefit clauses, either directly or as part of supply chains. Public Social Partnerships are also increasingly being recognised as invaluable to the public sector in redesigning services, plus there is positive feedback from those involved in co-production with the third sector.

The following are examples of the feedback received on the benefits arising from delivery of the Developing Markets programme:

Partners for Change:  “Their Knowledge and skills base have positively enhanced our processes for change.”
Public Social Partnerships (PSPs): “They have provided great assistance with the setting up of our PSP. They provide great knowledge and support particularly in getting buy in from senior colleagues within the organisation. They have been invaluable to this development and without them we would not be in the position of embarking on our PSP journey.
Community Benefit Clauses (CBCs):  “I think the sharing of views and the setting up of working groups that allow for the sharing of best practice in community benefits has been excellent.  There has also been an improvement in the quality of submissions received from the third sector.”…“The Champions network is good to encourage cross sector discussion.
The Ready for Business newsletter/website: “They are a good source of information.”

A big thank you to everyone who took part and who took the time to give detailed comments.  The lucky prize winner comes from South Lanarkshire and a prize of your choice will be winging its way to you shortly.

Social Enterprise Register

One of the key areas of the Ready for Business website is the Social Enterprise Register. This offers an effective way to search for information on social enterprise organisations throughout Scotland to, amongst other things, purchase from or collaborate with on tenders. We are in the process of checking the information contained within the Register and are asking organisations to check that the details are valid. If you have any changes to make or need any assistance please contact Tariq.

Case Study

Catalyst Catering

This case study highlights an example of how the Partners for Change programme has helped a successful social enterprise develop stronger links with commissioning and procurement staff and thereby opportunities to expand its offerings to the public sector.

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