1) Social Enterprise in UK

Social Enterprise and Society.

There are 3 generally recognised stratification of economic activity within UK.
1) First, the Government/public sector-
Where taxation revenues, from companies and individuals, are used to fund the legislature and to provide a basic range of services (the welfare state) in areas such as health education, social welfare.

2) Second, the non profit/third sector/civil society-Home to general charities, trades unions, social enterprises, public arts organisations, community interest, companies, voluntary and community organisations, independent schools, faith groups, housing associations, friendly societies, mutual societies which broadly exist ‘for public benefit’ and are therefore eligible for a range of income and property tax exemptions.

3) Third, the private or commercial sector-Where goods and services are produced and traded to make a profit in which surpluses which do not need to be kept in the business are distributed to owners and shareholders and which pay taxation towards funding the activities of the government sector.

There is a circular dynamic between all three sectors which operates best when each is sustainable and effective. It is a fact of life that social wealth creation requires material wealth creation for its existence.

Social Enterprise operates in almost every sector of industry in the UK from Health & Social Care to renewable enery ,from retail to recycling, from Employment to Sport, from Housing to Education. The size of the sector is subject to debate. The answer depends on which groups are included in any definition. Working on the statistics from NCVO’s 2010 Civil Society Almanac, the most widely accepted, there are 171,074 voluntary organisations in the United Kingdom.The table below illustrates the spread of organisations in terms of size and income:






No. or orgs 91,067 53,971 21,470 4,128 438
Proportion % 53.2 31.5 16.6 2.4 0.3
Income (£m) 264.1 1,856.1 6,502.5 11,277.1 15,598.1
Proportion % 0.7 5.2 18.3 31.8 43.9

So, the largest numbers of organisations are tiny ones with income of less than £10,000. The biggest organisations are the smallest proportion but by far the largest in terms of the proportion of income they represent. Total income for the sector is in the region of £35,498 million based on 2007/8 values. In 2008 there were 668,000 people in paid work within the sector, of which 63 per cent were full-time employed, 37 per cent part-time and 68 per cent of the total were women and 32 per cent, men. Unlike many other sectors volunteers are central to activity. in the year 2008/9 NCVO estimates that 26 per cent of the UK population was formal volunteers at least once a month and this rose to 41 per cent of the population volunteering at least once a year.

Diversity & size

The sector is very diverse and includes Culture and recreation; Education; Playgroups and Nurseries; Research; Housing ; Health ;Social Welfare; Youth clubs; Environment; Community development; Employment and training; Village halls; Law and Advocacy ; Grant-making; Umbrella bodies; International work ; Religious enterprises

Since the 1960’s there has been a steady year on year increase in the number of organisations registering of not less than 2,500, according the Charity Commission for England and Wales. In 2007/8, the Charity Commission reported 4,953 registrations in England and Wales. It appears that both registrations and removals are unrelated to current economic conditions. There is no reliable data on the number of mergers.

The sector is anticipating a period of austerity for the next five years with major cutbacks in public funding, increased competition for static or reduced grant-funding and increased competition for corporate and individual support. Demand for the services provided by the nonprofit sector is expected to increase. Organisations are under pressure to work more effectively, and collaboratively. Most of all they need to control costs improve quality and deliver performance whilst also maximizing resource gain from what- ever sources.

Cara is committed to developing efficient services and facilities for the public good often mixing several funding streams. A social enterprise trades in goods and services for social benefit maximising `profit` or `surplus` (some of which may go to shareholders). We can assist in the seting up or development of Social Enterprises with concept formulation; business planning;funding; support services and outsourcing of key functional areas etc. We can also provide substantial advice and guidance for free.

It costs nothing to talk to us. Our conversations are in the strictest confidence and covered by both our confidentiality agreement & Terms of Business as displayed on this website.

Please call John Brennan on 01803852270 or email john@caracommunity.co.uk.