"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Social Enterprises

The term "social enterprise" sounds benign because it has the word "social" in it. But it is the "enterprise" that we have to be wary of. Social enterprises are businesses. They are not-for-profit (meaning that any surpluses should be re-invested in their business) but they still behave as businesses. They can pay their directors astronomical salaries and their workers a pittance and they can pull out of a service sector if they choose. They are businesses and independent of government. As a taxpayer and citizen, you have no say about how they are run or what they do.

For example Health Investor reports: 
Social enterprise group Housing21 is set to sell its care package provider The Complete Group to private equity firm Sovereign Capital, HealthInvestor can reveal. Sources close to the deal have confirmed that Sovereign is now in exclusivity with Housing21, who acquired The Complete Group’s parent company Claimar Care last year. However, Housing21 has since begun looking to divest itself of The Complete Group as it did not fit with its business strategy.
Here you have a social enterprise (presumably claiming to have some high-minded ideals, they all do) buying a social care business from another company. Presumably the employees and the customers felt re-assured that such high minded people were now providing the service. But a social enterprise is a business, they can buy and sell businesses. This is what Housing21 have done with The Complete Group. Their customers and employees have now been shunted from the high-minded idealists over to the most profit hungry of businessmen, a private equity firm.

Why do I say this? Well it is the Conservative plan for the NHS. Lansley wants hospitals to become social enterprises. When this happens don't be surprised if they sell off parts of their business that they feel do not "fit in with its business strategy". You'll get a company that you've never heard of, and most likely do not want, taking over those "services".

Honestly, it is best not to get in this position by keeping our hospitals public.

No comments:

Post a Comment