Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hypocrisy over social enterprise marks?

I recently learnt that RISE, the regional social enterprise partnership that developed and pioneered what’s tipped to become ‘the’ quality standard for social enterprise kite marks, hasn’t actually been award the standard itself, despite using the image prominently on its literature.

Looking into this area further, Social Firms UK, the national body who’ve developed the ‘Star Social Firms’ kite mark in partnership with SFEDI, haven’t actually been awarded it themselves either.

So what’s going on? Is it a case of ‘do as we say, but not as we do’ by the great and the good, or perhaps indicative of something else –is it a case that the criteria of these kite marks are too prescriptive and not able to fully recognise the diversity of our sector? (the national review of the social enterprise mark underway at the moment would seem to support this). Or perhaps its more to do with the desire that as a sector we get on with ‘doing’: a key criteria of these kite marks is in relation to trading, so are our networking/umbrella/apex bodies perhaps not entrepreneurial enough? (which harks back to my concern that their message is becoming ‘do as we say, but not as we do’).

Either way, this surely only contributes to confusion about social enterprise that many within and without our sector have about what we are…

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