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NPS looking at computerThe Social Firm sector is a relatively young one and is constantly evolving. Due to the increased level of interest in social enterprise, there has been more demand for research to be carried out into the model of Social Firm and its characteristics. Social Firms UK is as supportive as it can be to researchers in the provision of information and data. As an organisation, it is also capable of carrying out research projects itself, has carried out some research for MIND as well as some research into why more Social Firms arenít co-operatives, funded by Co-operative Action. If you or your organisation is interested in commissioning a research project to Social Firms UK then please contact Sally Reynolds on tel. 01737 763790

A substantial amount of information on items already published (both by Social Firms UK and others) is available from the Resource Centre.

Some other pieces of research that have been carried out in the past (these are also listed in the Resource Centre) include:

Co-operative Social Firms Research Report

Social Firms UK has published a report which explores how and why Social Firms choose particular organisational structures, and in particular, why so few Social Firms actually choose to set up as co-operatives. Written by Economic Partnerships Ltd in January 2006, the report also looks at whether and how the legal/financial environment and other relevant factors, such as advice and models available, might be changed to makethe choice of organisational structures a more transparent and effective process. The report can be downloaded from the Resource Centre of the Social Firms UK website at http://resources.socialfirms.co.uk/resources.php?cat=7&r_id=320

Employment Creation In Social Enterprises: A Public Authority Perspective: The Invest To Save Evaluation Summary and Guide to Good Practice
This document forms the summary evaluation of the project as carried out by The Institute for Applied Health and Social Policy, King's College London, and provides a guide to good practice for other public authorities considering this type of development.

Evaluating The Ethics Of Using Disabled People As A Marketing Tool
This MBA dissertation was written in January 2004 by Kathy Baker, now Quality Support Manager at Social Firms UK. The study explores the ethical marketing conflicts that exist when using disabled people as a marketing tool in Social Firms. It examines ethical marketing theory, the ethical stance of disabled people and marketers in the study area and the concepts of vulnerability and social responsibility in relation to Social Firms.

Employment Creation In Social Enterprises: A Public Authority Perspective: Financial Net Cost Analysis and Disabled Worker Perspective Summary
This work was carried out by The Institute for Applied Health and Social Policy, King's College London, and aimed to investigate financial costs and outcomes from the perspective of the public authority, taxpayer and disabled worker as well as exploring the experiences of people with a learning disability or mental health problem working within social firms and enterprises that had been created to employ and/or train people with a disability.

Carpet Cleaning Care Research Dissertation

A new research item is now available to download free of charge from the Social Firms UK Resource Centre.
The "Carpet Cleaning Care Research Dissertation" has been written by Mark Bertram to explore two points:

1) Can an existing NHS sheltered work project be successfully transformed into a Social Firm operated by service users?
2) To what extent can such a transformed service be self-sufficient and profitable?

The sheltered work project in question is Carpet Cleaning Care which, currently, is still part of the NHS Trust in which it was created. The paper considers some interesting issues that arose during the journey of considering Social Firm development and Mark is happy to share the learnings with others in the arena of vocational rehabilitation for people with mental health problems and conversion of sheltered work projects. If you have any queries arising from the research then please send them to Social Firms UK at [email protected] and we will gladly forward them onto the author, Mark.

The full reports behind these summaries can be downloaded in PDF format from the Resource Centre.

Social Firms UK is keen to build on the portfolio of research that exists for sector and is especially interested in exploring health gain advantages of Social Firms for the disabled employees within them. The ISB work was a start to looking at this element, but Social Firms UK needs to secure funding in order to carry out a more thorough and comprehensive research programme.

Health Gain
Health gain is probably an area that Social Firms wishing to implement social accounting within their organisations will want and need to focus on. There is some significant research being carried out on development of an appropriate social accounting tool for the Social Firm sector. Please see the Impact Measurement/Social Accounting of the website for the full range of information on this.

We have also been approached by several mature students studying towards their MBA who wish to focus on Social Firms for that work. As and when their work becomes available, we will include them on this section of the website.

Please donít hesitate to contact us if youíre a researcher wanting to focus on the Social Firm sector or an organisation wishing to commission a research project into related areas of Social Firms.

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