Social Enterprise Reference Group
The social enterprise reference group is made up of social enterprise practitioners, policy makers, and other academics in the field who advise on the work of TSRC and the social enterprise Capacity Building Cluster.
Last meeting: 22 November 2011
The progress report was circulated in advance of the meeting. Some suggestions for future research directions included mutuals and mutual related support programmes; the relationship between social enterprises, private enterprises and socially responsible businesses; the importance of analysing the decline of the support infrastructure; the role of SEs in providing mentoring; and social enterprise as part of international sustainable communities research agenda. An event being planned with BRASS on sustainability is likely to feed into this agenda. The group also discussed the growing importance of social media in shaping policy debates and agendas. There is also the potential to use research to develop online tool kits to generate traffic.
Summary of social enterprise work in TSRC
Meeting 6 May 2011
The group was asked for their advice and guidance on future research directions. Suggestions included looking at research that is being carried out in other European countries, commissioning and the role of trade unions, the localism agenda, the transition of organisations to social enterprise models, and the role of the private sector and how this might be changing in the current policy climate.
The group talked about the best way for research outputs to reach the people who can use it, and the need to transform research into practical tools so as to maximise impact.
Meeting 21 September 2010
Discussions about future research focused on emerging trends from the “Big Society” agenda, such as the shift to contracts, proposals for community groups to deliver public services, and the implications of a transition from public sector to social enterprise - and what support mechanisms might be needed to make it sustainable. The group highlighted time banking – what does it offer and can social enterprise research contribute? -and the need to develop and share comparative work through international networks.
Meeting of 7 July 2009
The group held their first meeting on 7 July 2009. The problem of defining social enterprise was discussed, as well as the difficulties of access to large datasets for quantitative research. New areas of research - including the impact of public spending cuts and social enterprise finance - were debated.
The importance of research dissemination was highlighted, and the group discussed strategies for achieving maximum impact.
More: see Social Enterprise work stream