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Non-Profit Making Associations

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of support provided to social enterprise by regional development agencies. (271425)

The RDAs produce corporate plans setting out corporate objectives and expenditure plans across all major activities including social enterprise. Progress against these plans is subsequently reviewed and reported in the RDA's annual report and accounts. RDAs are also required to undertake impact evaluations of their major projects. That work was recently collected together in a report “Impact of RDA Spending” carried out on the Department's behalf by PriceWaterhouseCoopers which provided an overall assessment of RDAs’ effectiveness. The report concluded that RDA expenditure produced economic benefits in all regions.

The Office of the Third Sector's Social Enterprise Action Plan announced £5.9 million for the regional development agencies to March 2011 to improve social enterprise support via Business Link. A formal evaluation of the programme by the Office of the Third Sector has begun, with BERR involvement, and will provide a mechanism to share results across the country, with central Government and with the sector. A draft report on the early stages of the programme is currently being considered by OTS, BERR, the RDAs and a group of social enterprise experts.