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Social Return on Investment

Social enterprises have real potential to refresh and reinvigorate community services. In addition to providing more choice and responsive, innovative services, social enterprises bring wider benefits such as community regeneration and social inclusion. These are distinctive features and a key part of what social enterprises do, but it may not always be easy to describe to business partners.

There is a growing body of evidence about the social returns that social enterprises can bring to local communities. Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for measuring these social returns. It is specifically designed to measure a wider sense of value and identify how a particular service makes a difference.

Research on SROI by the Department of Health, in partnership with the Cabinet Office, aims to assist the social enterprise sector to better understand the wider impacts of service delivery and quantify the value in monetary terms. Five social enterprises delivering primary and community care services participated in the research and undertook SROI assessments. This learning will be useful to social enterprises, service commissioners and anyone interested in social value.  

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