Defra wins social action research contract

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Happy Social Enterprise Day!

Today (19/11/09) Angela Smith, Minister for the third sector, announced the second phase of the Office of the Third Sector’s £1.3m Social Enterprise Action Research (SEAR) programme, which allows other departments to explore ways in which social enterprises offer solutions to policy problems.  The Social Enterprise Action Research programme uses small amounts of Cabinet Office funding to stimulate other department’s social enterprise policy and programme spend by supporting them to undertake research into social enterprises solutions to policy problems.

Defra is one of four government departments to have won a contract to carry out a project.  We worked closely with our Social Enterprise Strategic Partners, the Defra food policy and sustainable behaviours teams to develop the bid, which will investigate the role of food social enterprises in informing and delivering sustainable food policy. Despite a growing food social enterprise sector there is currently very limited understanding of how different models of food social enterprise pull together a wide range of food-related issues, including securing a sustainable and healthy food supply, promoting sustainable behaviour relating to food including tackling obesity, contributing to a thriving farming and food sector and promoting strong local food economies and community cohesion. This research will strengthen the evidence base on how these issues are related and the role food social enterprise has to play, with a view to informing policy development.

Selected text from the proposal:

There are a number of models of food social enterprises linking producers and consumers, and using food as a vehicle for strengthening social connections, addressing and linking social/environmental/economic issues and raising awareness across a range of food-related issues. 

These food social enterprises often facilitate an interrelation between distinct policy areas and in particular provide a space for dialogue and behaviour change between different actors (producers, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and members). 

This action research proposal will support a two-way transfer of learning between Defra and the food social enterprise sector. It will identify where there is a business case for food social enterprises to contribute to delivering Defra’s Departmental Strategic Objectives build a more successful business.  It will identify how this is already being done and identify actions to ensure wider uptake and adoption by food social enterprises.

[Please note that the images and organisations used in this post are for illustrative purposes only, with the sole aim to provide the reader with some examples of food related social enterprises.]

This entry was posted in 10 Enabling our delivery bodies, 11 Better commissioning, 2 Sustainable living, 3 Public services, 4 Environmental entrepreneurship, 7 Understanding the sector, 8 Joining things up, Social Enterprise Strategic Partnership and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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