Social Enterprise

Hempsons has a strong commitment to the social enterprise sector.

A social enterprise is an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximise improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being— and which reinvests the majority of its profits towards its social purpose or for the benefit of the community. The sector is important to us as over 28% of social enterprises are based in the most deprived communities in the UK with over 78% paying the living wage or higher to their employees. Government statistics identify around 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly a million people.

How we can help:

We have an established social enterprise and not-for-profit practice and reputation, and we are committed to continuing to develop our services to meet the changing needs of the sector. We have a dedicated national team across the firm’s four offices in London, Manchester, Harrogate and Newcastle, providing advice on:

  1. Setting up – choosing and creating legal structures
  2. Partnering successfully – collaborations and mergers
  3. Managing well – governance issues
  4. Growing your business, including contracts and tenders
  5. Working together – employment law advice
  6. Spinning out – support on spinning out from the public sector.

The team works with a range of social enterprise clients, for example:

  • community health services for local people
  • farms
  • health and care services for people with mental health needs and learning disabilities
  • community transport
  • personal care services for people needing help and support
  • chocolate factory
  • primary care services delivered by GPs
  • youth services
  • health and well-being services for the community
  • multi-agency one-stop shop for homeless people

Our commitment to the social enterprise sector

We keep up to speed with change and influences within the sector, often acting as thought leaders on innovative developments. We operate at research and policy level with sector bodies and clients and are members of ACEVO, Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber, the Charity Finance Directors Group and the Charity Law Association.

Our commitment to the sector includes:

  • Presenting a series of workshops with the CIC Regulator on legal options for social enterprise
  • Being appointed to the Cabinet Office’s Mutuals Information Service’s hotline to give legal advice on setting up public service mutual
  • Co-authoring, with the Social Enterprise Coalition, Healthy Business – a guide to social enterprise in health and social care
  • Developing with the NCVO – Trading: Choosing the right legal form – a toolkit to assist trading organisations to decide on the legal structure appropriate for them
  • Supporting the development and programme of the SCA Institute of Social Enterprise as a founding sponsor and partner. Click here to view a related SCA article.
  • Having secondees at the Department of Health Social Enterprise Unit.

We also highlight below our most recent programmes for support of the social enterprise sector.

Social Enterprise UK Legal Advice Line

Hempsons operate a free legal advice line to Social Enterprise UK Members covering the following areas:

  1. Setting up – choosing and creating legal structures
  2. Partnering successfully – collaborations and mergers
  3. Managing well – governance issues
  4. Growing your business, including contracts and tenders
  5. Working together – employment law advice
  6. Spinning out – support on spinning out from the public sector.

Public Service Mutuals and the Mutual Support Programme

We have advised on all of the government programmes for development of Public Service Mutuals, including the Department of Health’s Right to Request and Right to Provide programmes, the Cabinet Office’s Mutuals Support Programme 1 and Mutuals in Health.

A public service mutual, which is often referred to as a ‘mutual’, is an organisation which:

  1. has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’)
  2. continues to deliver public services and aims to have a positive social impact
  3. has a significant degree of staff influence or control in the way it is run

We are delighted to be working in a consortium which has been appointed to the Department of Digitial, Culture, Media and Sport’s Mutuals Support Programme 2 (MSP2). This offers support to both aspiring and growing Public Service Mutuals. The support includes professional advice and support across areas including legal, financial, business planning, marketing, HR and organisational change, bid writing and measuring social value.

The consortium is comprised of five organisations (Stepping Out, MetaValue, Eastside Primetimers, Social Enterprise Acumen, and ourselves) and between us we have already worked with well over 50 existing and potential Mutuals. 

Social Club

We are also members of and a co-host with Stepping Out of “Social Club”. This is a network of charities and social enterprises which exists to help social sector leaders make the biggest possible impact. It brings together leaders to learn, share and engage with each other, as well as other influential leaders, on the biggest questions facing leaders of social sector organisations. Many are health and social care organisations whilst the group also includes those providing youth and probation services. A link to Social Club can be found here: https://socialclubuk.com.

Please contact Ian Hempseed to discuss how we can help you to set up, develop and grow a social enterprise.