Transforming NHS provider services through social enterprise

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Charlie Mayfield, John Lewis Partnerships, on social enterprise

What did we do as part of this work?

This project explored how health care providers will respond to the coalition's proposals to transform the NHS into the largest social enterprise sector in the world. We explored the motivations for becoming a social enterprise, analysed the benefits and challenges of implementing this organisational model in practice, and considered how the model should develop in future.

We interviewed social enterprise directors to explore their views and experiences on provider reform in the NHS and their motivations for becoming a social enterprise. We also interviewed chief executives of foundation trusts to get their views on provider reform, and how models of social enterprise might have some resonance within this setting.

The project involved:

The recommendations of the report are relevant to providers and to those at the forefront of designing the reforms.

Why did we look at this area?

The number of social enterprises delivering public services is growing. It is likely that the government’s health reform programme – which promotes competition between any qualified provider and the decentralisation of decision-making responsibility to local communities – will only boost this growth. However, there are many potential barriers to achieving this aspiration.