Chi Onwurah, shadow cabinet office minister is set to announce that Labour would make sure that when it comes to some government contracts, only social enterprises with a public service mission will be allowed to bid them.
Onwurah will rightly identify that currently “many public service markets are now dominated by the same big companies”. Indeed, as the Guardian reported a think tank recently found more than £10bn of taxpayers’ money a year being paid to just 20 private companies.
In an effort to combat this, and using EU rules that give the government – on a local and national scale – the right give contracts only to organisations “in the pursuit of a public service missions“, Onwurah will say “We want to make it easier for social enterprises to win government contracts. To help drive that, a Labour government in 2015 will enable departments and local authorities to offer some contracts exclusively for social enterprises.”
This looks like it might play a part in the Labour leadership’s devolution agenda, because as Onwurah will explain, Labours emphasis is on locally-led public services:
Rooted in their communities, social enterprises can identify new, more effective and enterprising ways of delivering public services. We want to see a comprehensive change in the social enterprise landscape. We want services to be less transactional, focused on individuals and delivered at the most local level possible. Labour will make social enterprises the new innovative frontline of the public sector.