Are you a Social Enterprise? Want to win public services contracts in your area? The NCSE can help!

The National Consortium of Social Enterprises (NCSE) has been created in response to the demand from the public service commissioner market (via NOMS) to have more social enterprises in supply chains and it aims to make it easier for public sector commissioners to contract from social enterprises.

The NCSE is delivered by a partnership between 3SC, Social Firms UK and Social Enterprise UK and funded by NOMS CFO and the European Social Fund. This unique consortium offers VCSEs plus local & regional consortia opportunities to be part of national contracts to deliver their diverse and innovative services throughout England.

The NCSE aims to:

  • Increase the prospects for social enterprises seeking to win public sector business;
  • Support the growth of a social enterprise employment market that improves the potential and increase the opportunities for offenders and other severely  provides real, sustainable jobs for disadvantaged people such as ex-offenders; long term unemployed.

We know that public service contracts are a major contributor to the growth of the social enterprise sector, but they can be difficult to access and win and this consortium seeks to address some of the key challenges social enterprises have in winning public sector business. As a member of 3SC, we want you to maximise your opportunities to generate further income.

To be eligible to become part of the NCSE, your organisation must meet the definition below of a social enterprise:

  • A business that has a clear social or environmental mission set out in its governing documents;
  • At least half of any profits or surpluses should be reinvested or donated towards that social purpose;
  • They should be an independent business and earn more than half of their income through trading (or are working towards this);
  • They are transparently governed, controlled or owned in the interests of their social mission;
  • There is a tangible offer to employ and promote sustainable employment opportunities for offenders and other disadvantaged individuals.

Many 3SC members have already signed up with NCSE through our webpage http://3sc.org/ncse-sign-up and the NCSE is already over half way to building its network of 1000 social enterprises throughout England. Many of you have also since been included in bids for delivering on offender management contracts such as Transforming Rehabilitation but the NCSE is diversifying into different market sectors and will be generating more opportunities in future, for example, NOMS CFO has announced the next round of their ESF Programme for 2015 - 20.

This Programme will be all about working with offenders with the most complex needs, and helping them to become employment-ready and get into work. Support will start in custody, and move through the gate into the community. All the evidence suggests that getting a job is a major contributor to reducing reoffending; it provides ex-offenders with an income, a sense of responsibility and a better social network. However, it is well known that offenders face barriers to employment, some of which they have created themselves, and others which relate to the way employers see offenders. The right jobs are hard to find, and for offenders who are far away from being work-ready, to be successful we need to be very innovative. We will need to connect up some dots, bringing together resettlement support, employability training, SMEs and large employers, and self-employment options.

NOMS have emphasisedtheir intention to secure a high level of VCSE sector involvement in the delivery of services under this agenda, and we at 3SC also believe the VCSE have a key role in developing the necessary service solutions. We have set ourselves the task of building comprehensive VCSE supply chains for each of the nine regional areas across England. We are currently engaging commercial partners who we may work alongside to deliver a complete solution.

We will begin engaging potential VCSE providers for the programme directly over the coming weeks, and have already begun to engage social enterprises through the NCSE. If you are a social enterprise interested in delivering services under the NOMS CFO ESF Programme please register with the NCSE at http://3sc.org/ncse-sign-up or for more information get in touch with Philippa Harris, Projects Officer for the NCSE at NCSE@3SC.org