Last night we launched our public sector route map to social enterprise called 'Transitions'. We did the deed at London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), a leading childcare social enterprise and the deed was done by Sir Steve Bullock Mayor of Lewisham and Derek Myers CEO at Kensington and Chelsea.
I knew that both men supported the idea of social enterprise as i had spoken to them about it, but I was delighted at how positive they were. In the maelstrom of cuts they held out the hope, that I wholeheartedly agree with, that social enterprise is a good idea with a lot going for it. Derek said he spent most of his working day talking about reducing things and cutting them, he went on to say that if he could spend only 1 per cent of his day talking about building something or growing it, that would be a very good thing. He pointed to social enterprise in his borough as the place he expected to have those conversations.
Steve similarly was alive to the difficulties Lewisham faced but told us that he had already been knobbled by a member of his staff who knew he was speaking at our event, who had a really exciting idea, he too thought this was real progress.
When I spoke I warned that this is not for everyone, that it is diffcult, but for the small minority of folk with passion for public service and an entrepreneurial zeal, like the inspirational ceo at LEYF, June O'Sullivan who talked of costs saved and standards raised, it is just the job.
I was delighted with the evening and Transitions, both of which mark a step forward for us and the debate on the role of social enterprise in public service delivery.