William Eichler 22 November 2019

Poll reveals ‘high levels’ of trust in social enterprises

Nine out of 10 people would prefer public services were outsourced to social enterprises over the private sector, research reveals.

Polling by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) found that respondents considered social enterprises to be more suitable public service providers on the grounds of perceived value for money, expertise, trust and lower levels of risk.

Carried out in partnership with the consultancy group E3M, the survey also found that social enterprises were judged to be suitable providers for all public services, but in particular youth services, sport and leisure, and environment and park services.

‘The high levels of public trust in social enterprises revealed in this study demonstrates the viability of social enterprise as an option for delivering public services,’ said Rob Whiteman, chief executive of CIPFA.

‘We would encourage local authorities to look beyond conventional private sector partnerships, and explore how social enterprises in their areas could support greater citizen engagement with services and investments in place.’

The poll also found that 84% of public finance professionals said social enterprises have been very or quite successful in delivering sport, leisure, libraries, events and health and social care.

Six in 10 said they thought social enterprises would play a greater role in public service provision in future.

Jonathan Bland, managing director, social business international and coordinator of E3M: ‘Local authorities need to take this research seriously. The mood has changed: the public wants a different model of outsourcing that they trust, one which uses profits to benefit society rather than building shareholder value.’

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