Our response to the COVID-19 crisis
Find out what we are doing to support the social enterprise sector during this time
We realise that the current situation is creating significant pressure on the social enterprise sector and we are committed to supporting our network and the wider social enterprise community in any way we can.
Here you can find out more about the measures we are taking in response to the crisis – this page will be regularly updated as the situation develops, and please do keep an eye on our news posts for further announcements.
Flexible assessment arrangements
During this difficult time, we are keen to support our social enterprise network however we can. We recognise that even when considering the more optimistic possibilities of the pandemic subsiding, there is likely to be an economic hangover that could have longer-lasting consequences.
In light of this, we have consulted our Certification Panel and they have agreed some exceptional measures to our assessment processes, in order to alleviate what is required of organisations when it comes to the annual review and renewal of their accreditations.
Whilst we will continue to conduct essential governance checks to ensure that organisations continue to remain committed to those operational principles encapsulated by our criteria, this work can be done entirely from our end. If these checks reveal any significant concerns affecting compliance with our accreditation criteria, we will contact Mark holders as may be appropriate.
All Mark holders have been sent a separate communication outlining the finer details of the new process. Please do get in touch if you have not received this.
These measures will apply for at least the remainder of the operational year (until the end of March 2021).
We are also happy to discuss different payment options for the annual licence fee, including staged payments to help spread the cost of the licence. Please get in touch if there is any additional assistance or support you need.
Partnerships & collaborations
We are actively forming partnerships and alliances with other social economy network bodies to improve the support we can all offer our networks.
- New Economy Alliance – we are working in partnership with various sector bodies, including Social Enterprise UK, Social Value UK and Co-operatives UK, to lobby the Government for vital support to keep the sector alive throughout (and after) this crisis
- Wellbeing Economy Alliance – we have joined this new global collaboration to work together to create economic system change and a transition to an economy that prioritises human and ecological wellbeing
- How Do Companies Act campaign – we are a founding member of this campaign led by Social Value UK, which calls for a redesign of corporate governance to create a fairer economy.
- Ethical Angel partnership – we have partnered with employee engagement engine Ethical Angel to provide free, virtual support to social enterprises by matching the skills and resources of the private sector with the operational needs of social enterprises.
- Health Devolution Commission – we are supporting this independent cross party inquiry into the value and accountability of devolved health systems, by facilitating opportunities for our social enterprise network to share evidence with the Commission.
- Supported Business Steering Group – Lucy remains involved in an advisory capacity to this group, which works with DWP on policy and funding for the supported business sector. We are involved in lobbying the Government for added protection for vulnerable workers when the Job Retention Scheme is wound up.
How to support social enterprises
The vital work that social enterprises do is now more important than ever, but many are facing extreme operational and financial challenges, due to the economic and social restrictions currently in place.
To ensure they can continue to provide much needed support to communities, they need your help…
We have set up a dedicated webpage to share details of how you can support social enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis.
Collating and sharing information & resources
We have set up a dedicated page to signpost social enterprises to the latest sources of information, support and resources, which is frequently updated with new links.
This covers government advice, finance and funding opportunities, HR and legal guidance, as well as a wide range of business support.
Working closely with our network
We have been engaging with our network to find out about their experiences of how the crisis is affecting their social enterprises and how they are responding.
From this we have compiled a collection of case studies, which illustrate how social enterprises are adapting their business in response to the crisis, to continue providing much-needed support to communities.
Our aim is to collate qualitative evidence that can be shared in our lobbying efforts, as well as sharing tips and advice to others in similar situations.
If you would like to talk to us about your experience, please get in touch and we would be happy to schedule a time for a chat.
We are also running a short poll, where social enterprises can let us know about the challenges they are currently facing. This will also feed into our lobbying to Government.