The King's Fund statement on UNISON report: Social Enterprises and the NHS: changing patterns of ownership and accountability'

Commenting on the UNISON report Social Enterprises and the NHS: changing patterns of ownership and accountability published today, Jennifer Dixon, director of policy at the King's Fund, said:

'There is definitely a role for social enterprises to compete to provide care for NHS funded patients. Social enterprises have the potential to be entrepreneurial and innovative with a distinctive ethos. Social enterprises could increase the engagement of both service users and frontline staff in how services are run.

'However, there is no doubt that social enterprise is an attractive label that many new providers will want to claim and there is a need to be clearer about what the characteristics are. Social enterprises must have some social purpose at heart and should be reinvesting any financial surpluses to support that aim.

'To have a chance of success in providing care to NHS patients, social enterprises should be able to compete on a level playing field with other non-NHS organisations.

'Social enterprises are already playing an increasing role in delivering public services and have achieved some notable successes in areas such as end-of-life care.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.