UK’s social investment market to face scrutiny by new independent commission

The chair of Social Enterprise UK, Lord Victor Adebowale, has today announced the creation of a new Commission on Social Investment.

The independent group will explore how the UK’s £3.5bn social investment market can serve the growth of the UK’s 100,000 social enterprises and help build a new economy, with recommendations expected this autumn.

Working alongside Lord Adebowale (pictured above) will be Jessica Daggers, a researcher on impact investing and social investment; Jamie Broderick, former CEO of UBS Wealth Management UK and board member of the Impact Investing Institute; Susan Aktemel, executive director at Homes for Good; and Chris Murray, director of Core Cities Group and chair of Fusion21. Further names are to be announced.

Fusion21, a social enterprise that helps public sector organisations to procure smarter and deliver on their social impact and sustainability goals, is supporting the commission.

Social entrepreneurs will shortly be asked to share their experience of social investment and whether the current market meets their needs. The commission will also consult with social investors and hold witness sessions in the House of Lords.

‘The aim of this commission is not to look back on what has gone right or wrong in the past, but to focus on the future’

Lord Adebowale said social investment was “critical” to social enterprise achieving its potential. 

But – while some have voiced criticism recently of its effectiveness, and of the role of wholesale bank Big Society Capital in particular – Lord Adebowale said the aim would be “not to look back on what has gone right or wrong in the past, but to focus on the future... We are launching this commission with no preconceptions or proposals, but with an open mind and bold aspirations”.

Chris Murray said social enterprise in the country showed “signs of very significant untapped potential to do far more”, and that access to the right kind of finance was “one way of unlocking the resource that social enterprise represents. This could not only benefit communities and individuals throughout the UK, but also diversify our national economic model in a way that will make us more economically, socially and environmentally resilient, at a moment of real change”.

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