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NEW GUIDE LAUNCHED TO HELP SOCIAL FIRMS MOVE OUT OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

08/01/2007
NEW GUIDE LAUNCHED TO HELP SOCIAL FIRMS MOVE OUT OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

A new resource has just been launched to provide practical guidance to those wanting to take a Social Firm* out of a council or NHS Trust. “Bringing Social Firms Out Of Public Authorities” has been written by Geof Cox of Economic Partnerships and was commissioned by Social Firms UK. It covers issues ranging from cost-benefit analysis, political and management support and staff issues such as pensions and the minimum wage.

Says Social Firms UK Chief Executive, Sally Reynolds: “The position for both NHS Trusts and local authorities is taken into consideration throughout the externalisation guide. For example, NHS Trusts have been known to start Social Firms to create employment for people with mental health problems in particular, and the Social Services departments of local authorities have tended to focus primarily on employment creation through Social Firms for people with learning disabilities.”

The report comes out just a few months after “A Guide To Charities Starting Social Firms” was published by Social Firms UK. Both guides have been written in response to needs of the Social Firm sector, where many service provider organisations have started a Social Firm business to create employment for their disabled or disadvantaged client group but soon realise that these businesses are not always best placed within the original ‘host’ organisation and would do better as independent, or semi-independent entities. By producing these guides, Social Firms UK is hoping that externalisation will also be considered at the initial stage of planning a Social Firm.

Says Sally: “This is the first time a guide on this topic has been published. Externalising or floating off a Social Firm, whether you are a public authority or a charity, does require the mindset of a pioneer, as it’s not a well trodden path to date. Although there aren’t many Social Firms that have come out of public authorities, we have learned a significant amount from the ones that have, meaning that others can now benefit from their experiences. There are a substantial number of NHS Trusts and Social Services departments currently grappling with the concept of externalising their Social Firm activities and we believe this guide’s coming out at a crucial point for the sector. It also ties into some of the government’s current strategies and policies, e.g. on public service delivery, third sector contracting and patient/service user-led services.”

The cost of the guides are as follows:
- A Guide To Bringing Social Firms Out Of Public Authorities - £30 to members of Social Firms UK and £60 to non-members. Sample pages can be viewed at: http://resources.socialfirms.co.uk/resources.php?cat=7&r_id=350

- A Guide To Charities Starting Social Firms - £20 to members of Social Firms UK and £40 to non-members. Sample pages can be viewed at http://resources.socialfirms.co.uk/resources.php?cat=7&r_id=325

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