What is your background in Social Enterprise?
I’m the Vice-Chair for Newham Clinical Commissioning group, which is a GP-led organisation, though I’m a layperson. We’re responsible for most healthcare budgeting for people in Newham, including purchasing, performance monitoring etc in Newham Borough
A part of my role is ensuring patient and public involvement which involves looking into how social enterprises in Newham can help deliver health services in the borough. We’ve been working with a number of charities developing programmes around how they can help us engaging with different communities, finding out different needs, commissioning new services etc.
What have you found thus far?
We’re at fairly early stages. We have recently awarded a big commission to a consortium of around fifteen local organisations on a pre-diabetic programme. We’re learning a lot at the moment.
Newham has a long history of social enterprises and third sector organisations in the borough and we want to find out how we can more effectively work with them.
What kind of social enterprises are here?
They range from the West Ham United Foundation to Active Newham to Newham Afro-Caribbean association. Some are very small and targeted, others are bigger.
We have to learn, as a statutory sector how to harness their abilities for the future.
What are the challenges in trying to engage with social enterprises?
Most are the internal structures we’ve inherited. The NHS is pretty good at talking to the NHS but not to external parties. It’s a very clinical model and it can be hard to translate the clinical and the social model and bringing them both together. You have to work with them over time.
The public sector isn’t geared up to things going wrong and that is part of the process. We have to change. How do we change? How do we show other partners that we are serious about changes? These are important questions for us.