Fast Social: News for the week beginning 2nd Sept

I’ve spent most of the week at Oxford University, which if you’ve ever been there is a lot like Hogwarts – really old buildings, people speaking parcel-tongue, academic papers that read like spells, etc…I was still able to keep up with events in the real world however, so here’s a round-up of this week’s news for all you muggles:

Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosophe...
Is the social investment market similar to the search for the Philosophers Stone?

News from ‘The Ministry of Magic’

The Government has rejected calls to introduce a statutory definition for public benefit as well as higher registration thresholds, but will work towards fining charities for late filing of accounts, and if they’re really naughty they’ll set the Dementors on them!

Ministers are also re-drafting the lobbying bill in light of concerns from charities that it would limit their ability to campaign on social issues.

Other Wizards have been responding to the Ministry’s consultation on the Social Investment Tax Relief. Big Society Capital have already published their consultation response, which argues for simplicity, an increase in the size of org eligible, an extension to the range of permitted indirect investment schemes, and the inclusion of social impact bonds. There’s also a really good round-up of who is saying what about the SITR down the backstreets of Diagon Alley here.

News from the world of social investment (the other magical place)

The search for The Philosophers Stone continues with a heavy focus on social investment in the sector news this week. The Big Lottery Fund has postponed its social investment programme, Big Potential, after ending its contractual relationship with private consultancy Exemplas. While the reasons have not been made public, the programme will still go ahead at an as yet unspecified future date.

But The Ministry of Magic gave us all reason to cheer with the news they plans to develop a pilot social investment vehicle that will allow different groups of investors to pool money.

There was also news that a new not-for-profit investment service has been launched for charities with small amounts of money to invest.

Those #socinv Wizards have been busy this week, with over 1,500 of them riding their brooms over to SOCAP in sunny California. There’s an interesting article here for how the event could help placed-based innovation.

Perhaps the most interesting announcement of the week however concerned the members of the G8’s Social Impact Investment Taskforce. The UK has representation from the Cabinet Office and Sir Ronald Cohen (yet both France and Italy have 3 representatives each?). Also interesting are the institutions chosen to represent certain countries – the US has one representative from the Omidyar Network (set up by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam), whilst Germany is represented by the Bertelsmann Foundation, which has received some criticism for its previous excursions in to the political field. So will this rag-tag bunch turn out the Order of the Phoenix or the Death Eaters of social impact investment? Only time will tell!

Interesting research on Women

They’re not all annoying like Hermione. Oh no, some of them are doing really good things for the UK economy. Worldwide, women entrepreneurs are also receiving greater media coverage too. Stick that in your pipe Weasley!

The Dark Lord rises?

Finally, there was an excellent article on the GSEN this week about the current state of social enterprise in Mother Russia. The article suggests that He who must not be named (aka Mr. Putin) and the Oligarchs aren’t really doing as much as they could to support them – it makes for a fascinating read.

Right, I’m off to feed my pet owl Wighed – expelliarmus!


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