The Department launched a third sector strategy discussion paper on 7 June which includes consideration of the need of third sector organisations for more sustainable forms of investment. Our women and equality unit has commissioned a study to understand the barriers to ethnic minority women entering social enterprise and the support they need. Assistance for social enterprises is also available through the local enterprise growth initiative. So far, 29 local authorities have benefited from the first two rounds. Local authorities that have been successful may include projects to support social enterprises to encourage entrepreneur ship.
We will set out future proposals for supporting the third sector, including social enterprise, in the light of our assessment of responses to the discussion paper and the outcome of the 2007 comprehensive spending review.
The Department does not currently hold information on suppliers in a way that captures the identification of contracts held with social enterprises. The Department is, however, seeking to revise its financial systems to capture information on third-sector suppliers, including social enterprises, and is liaising with the Office of the Third Sector to ensure that we adopt a common approach with the rest of Government.