As the recent party conferences and Scottish referendum have proved, health and social care are at the centre of political attention – and will be crucial in general election campaigns. This is with good reason: we are in a period of challenges where health services are concerned. Many NHS trusts are already significantly in deficit, and the strain is beginning to show across the country.
What is the role of social enterprises and charities in this context? They have a long history of helping to influence, support and deliver services across health and social care; sometimes doing so in partnership, sometimes “outside” services, sometimes fundraising for research, and other times campaigning for change. At Social Enterprise UK, almost a third of our members operate in health and social care in the broadest sense.
What we can see is that changes on the commissioning side are bringing challenges for organisations on the ground. Where once they had one major commissioning relationship, now they may have several; where their contract sat with one organisation, now it may have been divided by service or geography; where their contract was simple and “block”, it may now be heading towards personalisation. This requires more capacity, more relationship-building (and management), and sometimes completely new skills. For more niche providers, larger and larger contracts can simply mean they miss out, or have to quickly find the right sub-contracting arrangements. For others, it has meant a wholesale reinvention of their model of working.
Source: The Guardian