No lack of support

So that you don’t have to, I’ve spent part of this afternoon reading the Office of the Third Sector’s exciting new report on business support for social enterprises and how it can be made less crap.

The general thrust of the report – expounded at some length – is that there’s lots of business support out there for social enterprises but ‘it is not well signposted or joined up’. The problem, apparently, is that Business Link staff don’t get social enterprise so Business Link is struggling to fulfill its role as the ‘primary channel for accessing business support’.

Most of the answers suggested involve variations on the theme of Business Link and support organisations working more closely together, and Business Link staff being told what social enterprise is – surely unnecessary now that they can just be told that it’s a business with a Social Enterprise Mark.

Not for the first time, a report that has ‘benefitted from input’ from sector support bodies ‘in particular the Social Enterprise Coalition’ has revealed that what’s needed is more (I imagine suitably-funded) joint working between Business Link, Regional Development Agencies and sector support bodies, and more awareness raising – which I imagine will be delivered by sector support bodies.

It’s a result that makes you imagine a situation where – in planning a big office move – the Office of the Third Sector invites a supplier known to have a large warehouse full of unsold orange chairs to make recommendations about what colour the chairs should be in the new office and is happy when the recommendation is ‘orange’.

I wonder how they’re going to measure the social impact of this piece of work?

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