“Getting Social Businesses in on the Act” – Part 7 of 7

Social Business Wales is here to help.

11. The role of social businesses in delivering the Act

The Act provides the framework to expand the range of not-for-profit service models thereby increasing the diversity of provision available and tapping into the creativity that exists in our communities to help people achieve their well-being, focusing on people with care and support needs, and carers who need support.

In order to get social businesses in on the Act there are five basic ‘must-dos’:

  1. Clearly identify yourself
  2. Show how you are relevant to the principles, duties and outcomes of the Act
  3. Describe, illustrate and ideally provide evidence of the role you have to play
  4. Demonstrate that your services are sustainable
  5. Showcase the added-value your social business approach generates in public service delivery.

Fleshing out the must-dos…

  • Identify who you are and what you do
  • Say how this is relevant to the new duties on local authorities and their partners
  • Describe the role you can play in delivering the new duties
  • Show how your business deliver a sustainable service/s
  • Clearly illustrate the added value of your social business. This refers to the economic social and environmental objectives that underpin your business along with, for example the employment, training, work experience and volunteering you offer to local people and local communities.

Regional Forums

Published last year a final ‘must’ to the benefit of social businesses was included in the Code of Practice – local authorities with local health board partners must establish regional forums to support ‘social value based providers’. The purpose of the forums, as described by Welsh Government, is to ‘encourage a flourishing social value sector which is able and willing to fulfil service delivery opportunities.’

To wedge the proverbial social business foot in the door is to contact the publicised regional implementation manager for your relevant regional implementation team and offer you support to schedule the first meeting. The forums must be in place by September 2016. This is a good opportunity to work with your local authority and improve its understanding of your social business, your social aims and the needs of people accessing your services.

The Wales Co-operative Centre has worked the Welsh Government team implementing the Act to prepare local authorities for their duties with regards to social businesses. During this process we have shared information on social businesses and the benefits of working with you. These are captured as:

  • Social businesses firmly place people using services at the heart of the service design and delivery. In doing so they provide responsive services that are citizen directed giving a stronger voice and greater control to people in need of services and those who care for them. This often results in a better quality, well-targeted service.
  • They are businesses anchored in their communities. Investment in a social business stays in the community and will be recycled for wider economic and social benefits.
  • Employees of social businesses are more motivated by having a direct voice in the running of the business.
  • As businesses they reduce costs and improve efficiencies, for example, through increased staff satisfaction and reduced absenteeism.
  • As businesses sitting outside of the public sector, social businesses can access a wider range of resources, support and funding.
  • Social businesses can release the entrepreneurialism that exists in the public sector and its workforce. They have freedom to be more flexible, innovative and responsive.

12. Social Business Wales services – Let’s stay in touch

Organisations, businesses, charities and people need to work in partnership to secure a person’s well-being and to prevent people from needing care and support.

For us at Social Business Wales this is the bread and butter activities of social businesses – social businesses do empowerment, they do partnerships with people, with statutory agencies and with many more organisations, social businesses give people a voice and control in their lives. And social businesses invest in good efficient, effective services and products that are developed around people, for people, for their prosperity and well-being (for fulfilled lives).

In offering assistance and solutions to local authorities, local health boards and their partners, social businesses can play a leading role in delivering the new duties. Engagement and involvement with local authorities and their partners at the clearest entry points such as Section 16 the duty to promote social enterprise and the third sector is the first rung in the ladder. Once a firm footing is established, partnerships can be developed enabling people to design and operate their own services with the support of social businesses and on to strategic partnerships and collaboration.

Social Business Wales is here to help you capture the new business opportunities available related to the new Act. We can help you access new markets and markets segments. Our work with social businesses is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government. And we’re part of the Business Wales service. We’re the national agency across Wales for social businesses and co-operatives. Social Business Wales provides the experts who can help.

We go from VAT advice to visioning, business planning to board development, and sales strategy to stakeholder engagement, and everything in between. The team of Social Business Wales advisers are available to visit you – or you can come to us. The service is backed up with a comprehensive online toolkit complete with all the resources you’ll need to grow your business and get stuck in on the new Act.

Social Business Wales aims to support social businesses with aspirations to grow. For further assistance, please contact:

Business Wales: http://businesswales.gov.wales/  Tel: 03000 6 03000



  • juliahc@restorativewales.org.uk'

    Thanks very much for this clear direction, which we really need after the initial tender process that was very challenging to access as a relatively new business -we weren’t successful despite being highly relevant. We are a welsh social enterprise and multi stakeholder co-operative that can provide restorative training, delivery and strategic development. How do we find out who our local regional implementation manager is please? We work across Wales but primarily in South Wales.

    Many thanks
    Julia Houlston Clark (CEO)
    Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership
    PS Our website is currently under construction for welsh translation

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