Social Enterprise in Remote and Rural Communities
Edited by Jane Farmer, Carol Hill and Sarah-Anne Muñoz
Chapter 7: Measuring the Value of Social Organisations as Rural Service Providers
Jane Farmer and Sara Bradley INTRODUCTION As Hill discusses in Chapter 1, policy has been incrementally turning in favour of promoting the benefits of providing, supporting and enhancing aspects of public services using social enterprises (H.M. Treasury, 2002, 2004, 2005; Department of Health, 2007; Cabinet Office, 2010). This is purported to improve accessibility to appropriate services, provide ‘added-value’ social capacity by, for example, providing work experience and developing community initiatives, and enhance wellbeing through volunteering and feelings of contributing to community (Home Office, 2003; H.M. Treasury & Cabinet Office, 2006; Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, 2007). A 2010 Economist article stated that, ‘In Britain and America governments hope that a partnership with social entrepreneurs can solve some of society’s most intractable problems’ (p. 55). The economic crisis ensuing in the late 2000s and corresponding sound-bite policy notions like the ‘Big Society’ (Conservative Party, 2010) produced a context in which the public could perhaps be convinced of their role, indeed duty, to participate in co-producing services in partnership with the state. The 2010 Economist article proceeded to highlight that social enterprise-type innovations remained ‘small scale’ and fragmented as service providers, partly due to the challenge of identifying an indicator of success: ‘businesses have profit: the social sector lacks a similarly simple yardstick’ (p. 56). In this chapter, the potential for evaluating the impacts of social enterprises is considered and approaches to evaluation are critiqued through the lens of the O4O: Older People for Older People project (O4O) that worked with communities to establish...
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