The Social Enterprise Guide

March 2, 2012

Social Enterprise UK  is the national body for social enterprise and has a wealth of information, news, advice and resources on it’s website here http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/.

The Social Enterprise Guide for people working in local government is full of really useful information and explains how social enterprises can help to meet many local authority strategic objectives, it also gives lots of practical advice about how teams within local authorities can engage with social enterprises to benefit their communities.

The guide contains some really useful information on the different legal models that social enterprises can take, ideas and information about commissioning and procurement and how to support the creation of social enterprises spinning out of the public sector.

The guide can be downloaded here: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/uploads/files/2012/02/local_authority_guide_final1.pdf

The resource library is here: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/advice-support/resources


Prototyping Public Services

December 8, 2011

What is prototyping?

Prototyping is a way of testing out ideas in practice at the early stages of the design cycle, quickly, cheaply and with others to see if there is demand and if they work.

Dyson is probably one of the most well known organisations that uses prototyping to test their products prior to market, the first Dyson vacuum cleaner went through over 5000 iterations before it hit the shelves.

Prototyping is an exploratory and ongoing process it can be used when designing new services or to test out components of services with residents and stakeholders. Most importantly prototyping is about exploration and ‘doing with people’ in order to develop innovations, inevitably some prototypes will fail but this should be seen as positive. Prototyping is about taking small risks at an early stage in order to maximise opportunities and prevent costly failure in the long term.

How can I find out more?

Nesta and various partners have developed a guide to prototyping public services which you can view here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/events/assets/features/prototyping_in_public_services

I have created a short online presentation to summarise prototyping using information from the guide which contains links to more information and videos as well as case studies here:

In partnership with Barnet Council and Nesta, Thinkpublic have developed a framework for prototyping that contains lots of tools here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/events/assets/documents/prototyping_framework

Thinkpublic has also produced a couple of short videos that explain the concept of prototyping in more detail you can watch them here: http://goo.gl/jpRIS


Mutual Business Detector from Mutuo

December 2, 2011

Mutuo, a not-for-profit society that supports the creation of new mutual organisations, has published a mutual business detector. The detector is designed to provide an initial indication of whether it will be possible to “spin out” a council service into a new mutual organisation.

The council have been involved in the development of the detector, having piloted the approach with a number of council services. It isn’t intended to provide a definitive answer as to whether a service should spin out, but does provide an indication of where the service does have a fit with a mutual approach and where there are challenges that would need to be overcome.

The test looks at a number of factors related to the service centred around three categories:

  • Suitability
  • Deliverability
  • Scale

The detector is available on the Mutuo website and includes full instructions of what to do. Using the detector shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes so it really is a quick and simple tool.


Spin Out and Deliver – Social Enterprise London

November 25, 2011

Social Enterprise London (SEL) have published a new guide, Spin Out and Deliver, aimed at public sector workers who are considering setting up as a social enterprise. This short document contains useful information which has been drawn from interview SEL have conducted with people who are currently looking to “spin out” from council ownership to a social enterprise.

This guide forms part of a series of publications from SEL on spinning out, and they continue to conduct research into how public services are changing. Their emerging themes which are outlined in this report include:

  • The importance of leadership for organisations that spin out
  • The challenge of culture change – moving from working in the public sector to a social enterprise
  • The enthusiasm of front-line staff to move to a new model of ownership
  • Confusion over legal models, although the legal structure should fit the business not the other way around
  • Fears around staff transfer
  • The lack of time available to properly plan the development of the organisation
  • The lack of infrastructure support available to emerging spin-out organisations.

This guide also includes information about why establishing a social enterprise to run a public service can be a good idea; being an outstanding social enterprise leader; and steps to get started.

You can download a copy of Spin Out and Deliver, or any other SEL publications, from the SEL website.


Co-production Exercise

November 9, 2011

At the recent Leadership Network  event (see previous post) Lambeth Council managers undertook a scenario based exercise to explore how co-production works and the differences from more traditional forms of consultation. Below are a couple of links which explain the exercise that we developed and the materials that were used. Please feel free to distribute, use and adapt the exercise if you think this would be useful for your organisation or team.

If you have any questions about how the exercise works or you want to discuss this in more detail please contact us at cooperativecouncil@lambeth.gov.uk

20111109 Co-production Exercise

20111109 Role play cards