Global social innovation round-up #37

1 in 3 councils in England consider social value

A new survey by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) has been published to gain a greater understanding about how councils in England are using the Social Value Act in their procurement and commissioning activities. The Procuring for Good report concludes that 33% of councils in England routinely consider social value in their procurement and commissioning and that 24% have a social value policy in place.

James Butler, SEUK's public affairs manager and the lead on the research for report, wrote in a blog post: “When we look at how councils are using the Act, 14% of councils are ‘embracers’ and are actively using it in all manner of interesting ways and have high, and sometimes very high weighting when judging tender applications. 19% we call ‘adopters’ who are routinely using the Act, but in what we might call a more limited way than the ‘embracers’.... 1/3 councils then are pretty good. Yes some could go further, but given how difficult it is to change organisational behaviour, the Social Value Act is unquestionably a success.”

The research is based on responses from 306 of the 353 English councils to freedom of information requests. It also showed that smaller District Councils are less likely to consider social value than larger councils and that those embracing social value come from across the political spectrum.

New survey provides snapshot of social enterprise landscape in the Netherlands

Employment within the social enterprise sector in the Netherlands grew 24% between 2014 and 2016 according to the latest Social Enterprise Monitor study by Social Enterprise Netherlands. The study also found that 54% of social enterprises included in the study indicate they have brought new products or services to the market and that 60% measure their social impact, which is an increased percentage in comparison to previous years the study has taken place. Government was named the hardest to reach customer by the social enterprises, with 11% of their combined turnover coming from contracts with the public sector.

Australian Big Issue celebrates 20th anniversary

Since it was founded two decades ago The Big Issue in Australia has supported 6,500 men and women through the sales of its magazine. To mark this milestone anniversary the social enterprise is publishing a bumper issue of the magazine, which will include highlights from the past 20 years and stories from many of the vendors helped out of homelessness during that time.

We’ve been completely self-sustaining in a very challenging market

On 16th June, 1996 a small group of vendors sold the first copies of Australia’s Big Issue magazine in Melbourne. Today over 550 vendors are working across the country – buying copies from the social enterprise for AU$3.50 and selling them for AU$7 in order to provide them with an income. On top of this The Big Issue in Australia also runs additional initiatives, for example its Community Street Soccer Programme. One participant of this programme said: “Sometimes people don't understand when I try to explain how important soccer is to me, but it has dead-set helped me change my life.”

Steven Persson, CEO of The Big Issue in Australia, told Pro Bono magazine: “One of the key achievements is that we’ve been completely self-sustaining without government funding, we’re not donations driven – we’ve been completely self-sustaining in a very challenging market that is hard-copy publishing.”

Social enterprise bakery in Hong Kong attempts to break baking world record

Caritas La Vie Bakery, a social enterprise in Hong Kong that provides vocational training to people with mental health issues, is supplying the ingredients and baking facilities to a group of charities looking to set a world record for the world’s longest raisin loaf. The charitable groups are using the stunt to raise money for and awareness about critical support for isolated elderly people. Money raised will go towards the Personal Emergency Link Service (PELS) operated by the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association, which supports elderly people who live alone.

The loaf, which measured 3.27 meters long, is “very popular” among elderly people in Hong Kong according to UCA News. The charities involved in the ‘great bake’ hope that the Guinness World Records, which has accepted their submission, will recognise the loaf in a new category, thus making them world record holders.

East of England cycling circuit embraces social enterprise model

PedalPark in Norfolk, England is set to be the largest traffic-free cycle circuit in Europe and will be run as a social enterprise when it opens later this summer. It will offer ‘grassroots riding, training, coaching and competition to raise and sustain participation levels across a wide range of ages and ability levels’ in cycling.

We will step up... the social enterprise will run the venue

Following delays in planning permission requests, the original launch date for the park of May 8th had to be pushed back – also resulting in the organisation missing out on a £75,000 grant from Sport England.

Neil Turner from Pedal Revolution, the organisation behind the park, told the Eastern Daily Press: “We put a lot of time, effort and money into that bid, but now we have to move on… We will step up and fund the whole project, and the social enterprise will run the venue. Our passion is to run it that way, and have it to engage the local community to be active, and achieve more.”

PedalPark aims to be up and running in time for the Tour de Broads – a charity fundraising cycling event which will see over 800 cyclists of all abilities cycling between 40 to 100 miles across the Norfolk Broads.