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Right to Provide Initiative

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 30 March 2011

Today I am formally launching the Department’s guidance to support the Government’s new right to provide initiative and can announce that the Government will be investing at least £10 million through the Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF) in 2011-12.

The new right to provide guidance “Making Quality Your Business” sets out the Department’s guidelines to support public sector employees who are thinking about taking up the right to provide. The guide sets out a process for people working in NHS trusts who have the right to propose the development of a staff-led enterprise.

The right to provide programme will enable staff across health and social care to explore setting up staff-led mutuals to take over and run services. It builds on the successful right to request scheme for community health services, which will see almost 25,000 community NHS staff set up social enterprises to take over the services they provide. Right to provide extends the opportunities provided by right to request to others working in health and social care.

We are committed to the big society approach, making public services answerable to the people that use them. Right to provide devolves power to front line staff at a local level who know how things can be done better and gives them the opportunity to put their ideas into practice. Employee ownership, combined with strong staff engagement, has demonstrated that it can deliver successful enterprises in a commercial context; we believe it can do as well in public service.

The Department’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund invests via loans and grants in new and existing social enterprises operating within health and social care. In the last year alone the fund has invested over £40 million in social enterprises in the health and social care sector, including support for community healthcare services through the transferring community services programme, and since its launch SEIF has supported over 450 social enterprises,

I am pleased to announce the investment of at least £10 million in the SEIF in 2011-12, which will demonstrate our continuing commitment to support the social enterprise sector and new organisations being created through the right to provide.

The Department’s guidance has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.