All News

The government makes it easier for small and medium sized businesses to win public sector contracts

The public sector spends £187 billion each year on goods and services, and the Government wants to work with more small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). This includes social firms, of course. 

Changes have been made in the way government buys goods and services, to make the process easier for everyone. What are these changes?

Find Out More About VAT

 HMRC have put together a series of short helpful videos about VAT to help small businesses get it right. 

Birmingham City Drive – Social Enterprise Week 20 – 24 April 2015

Social Firms UK Member I-SE are looking for social enterprise volunteers who are happy to give up 2 hours to share their social enterprise stories in small groups with students at Birmingham City University on Wednesday, 22nd April 10am – 12pm or at Aston University on Wednesday, 22nd April 1 – 3pm.

Please help spread the word about social enterprise to the next generation - get involved in Birmingham City Drive! It will also be a good opportunity for you to promote your work.

Please contact  Marija at if you would like to be involved.

Toys“R”Us celebrate World Autism Awareness Week with exclusive store browsing event.

Toys“R”Us® will hold an autism friendly exclusive ‘experience’ event for families affected by autism and additional needs this month supporting World Autism Awareness Week and offering families a calm environment with their child.

The Toys“R”Us event, being held in the morning of Sunday 29th March, will be a browsing event for families allowing them to visit their local store offering a relaxed environment to enjoy the experience of shopping with their children together. The event, planned in conjunction with the National Autistic Society (NAS) will allow families to browse the latest selection of toys and games in a subdued environment as recommended by the charity and other local groups across the country.

If You Thought the Bedroom Tax was Bad... Jeff Mitchell on Universal Credit

Quids In! Magazine reports: It seemed like a good idea: a single simple benefit to replace six others, that would allow claimants to keep some of their benefit if they found low-paid work. Yet the implementation has been a classic case of clever people making short-sighted decisions. Another expensive computer system. Direct payments to claimants, not landlords. Paying monthly. In arrears. Managed online. There are a lot of assumptions in there and they all overlook how claimants are often unbanked, lack budgeting skills and aren't online. Our 2014 Quids In! Reader Survey reported that only 26% of respondents had access to the internet. So digital exclusion is to become a major issue, even if the IT system gets sorted out. 

Read more in Jeff Mitchell's blog

Locality launches Keep It Local 24 March

Locality's new campaign Keep it Local launches in Birmingham next week, on Tuesday 24 March.

Keep it Local is about getting better public services, delivered by local community-focused organisations.

Places are available at the launch event, at the Quaker Meeting House in Birmingham. 

If you're on Twitter or Facebook, consider joining the Locality Thunderclap. Thunderclap is a nifty bit of software which will send out a tweet or post on the launch date from all supporters' accounts, massively amplifying the campaign's reach.

Remploy Joint Venture with MAXIMUS Announced

Remploy Employment Services will leave government ownership with the creation of a joint venture between Remploy employees and MAXIMUS.

View the written Ministerial Statement here

The partnership will enable both organisations to support thousands more disabled people into work in the years to come.

This is a historic day in Remploy’s long and proud history of supporting disabled people, securing its long term future. It also places Remploy's employees at the heart of the business as co-owners sharing responsibility for the success and growth of the business with a strong and committed commercial partner.

Social Policy in a Cold Climate

The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) recently published the concluding research from the Social Policy in a Cold Climate programme, an analysis of the Coalition's Social Policy Record. These complimented an earlier set of reports covering the Labour government’s social policy record.

This programme examined the effects of the major economic and political changes in the UK since 2007, particularly their impact on the distribution of wealth, poverty, inequality and social mobility. The analysis includes policies and spending decisions from the last Labour government, including the beginning of the financial crisis, as well as those made by the Coalition government since May 2010. All publications can be found here.

Recruitment opens for Social Venture Weekend

Allia's Social Incubator East's Social Venture Weekend is an opportunity for those running social ventures, or people with an idea for a social venture, to get world class training amongst a group of like-minded peers. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get really energising and inspiring input.

After the Weekend ventures will be selected to join the  full programme which lasts up to 12 months and includes office space, business advice and access to discounted loan finance and more! Current ventures are thriving under the programme – testing business models, securing customers, and raising investment.

The Social Venture Weekend which runs from 8-10th May will be the last until Autumn, so if you are interested, sign up here


Social Firms England takes on mantle of Social Firms UK

From the beginning of April 2015, Social Firms England will take over as the successor body to Social Firms UK.

This is a really exciting move for the social firms sector, and comes as a result of a year of consultation with members. The change is not just in the name, but also an improved and streamlined model for social firm support and promotion at local and national level.

Members have been invited to make their views known over several surveys and discussions over the past year. The Board of Social Firms UK and the Steering Committee of Social Firms England have comprehensively reviewed the services that members most value from their specialist support body, and have carried out extensive conversations with Social Firms Wales, Social Firms Scotland, and Social Enterprise Northern Ireland in developing a new shape for social firm support and promotion throughout the UK.