From Charity to Social Enterprise: The Marketization of Social Care

A paper on ‘From Charity to Social Enterprise: The Marketization of Social Care’ by F Henderson, C Reilly, D Moyes and G Whittam has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research


Please see abstract below:

Purpose: In Scotland, the Self-Directed Support (SDS) legislation is a catch-all payment system which brings challenges to local authorities, service delivery organisations, and the service users it is intended to empower. Set against a backdrop of cuts to local authorities and third sector funding, this policy presents third sector organisations with both the opportunities and challenges of commercialising their activities to become more sustainable. This paper provides evidence of the challenges faced one charity as engages in a process of hybridity to accommodate changes in its funding due to the introduction of SDS.

Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative case study of one charity presents the experiences of a purposive sample of managers, staff and parents advocating for their children. The challenges of gathering data and giving a voice to parents advocating for children with complex needs are discussed.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable): This study used a small purposive sample of individuals who were prepared to talk about the challenges of SDS in one national Scottish charity.

Practical implications (if applicable): Organically arising barriers to organisational transition from charity to social enterprise are presented, as staff and caregivers react to the prospect of SDS uptake affecting their organisation. Proactive attempts to embrace a hybrid approach by the organisation, are analysed.

Social implications (if applicable): Understanding how social care organisations and clients are reacting to the implementation of individual payments is crucial as the sector faces very real prospects of established organisations failing  and the market becoming dominated by fewer providers delivering cheaper, lower quality social care. Therefore a policy based on choice for the consumer risks removing choice through a loss of appropriate services in the marketplace, leaving vulnerable populations at risk.

Originality/value:  This paper makes a unique contribution to the fields of social enterprise and social care as no other research has been done exploring the transition to hybridity of charities serving children with complex needs in anticipation of SDS creating an open market. The paper further provides evidence of underlying issues which need to be addressed if SDS is to become a successful policy transforming vulnerable individuals’ lives. The paper further identifies that a specific challenge facing hybrid organisations, not articulated in the current literature, is the need to maintain the support of existing clients through the transformation of the organisation.

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