National Enterprise Network were delighted that we could ourselves contribute to the Baroness Mone review, and that in addition a number of our members were also consulted as part of the review process; even if, disappointingly, there is little or no reference to us or our members and their work in the report itself. We […]
National Enterprise Network were delighted that we could ourselves contribute to the Baroness Mone review, and that in addition a number of our members were also consulted as part of the review process; even if, disappointingly, there is little or no reference to us or our members and their work in the report itself.
We are pleased that the first part of the review has now been published and that it picks up on some of the issues we and our members had raised with her. You can read more about the review and find the report here.
National Enterprise Network members have been supporting people in deprived areas to consider starting a business for decades and so know only too well the issues they face; the cultural and emotional barriers as well as the skills, experience and finance hurdles they have to overcome.
We were therefore pleased to see some of the report’s recommendations picking up on areas we have championed, in particular a recognition of the value of mentoring and how those businesses who take some form of support in the start up of their business are more likely to survive and thrive.
We agree with the need for an overhaul of the NEA programme, this programme has gone through a number of iterations and it is unfortunate that the current one was largely based on price, resulting in some of the service provision being less than adequate – we would support a review of the service offering, the pricing models and the budgets available, particularly with an emphasis on a lower number of higher quality businesses being the outcome – but only if the cost for achieving those outcomes are realistic and fair for the work involved.
The issue of Universal Credit and the earlier integration of the self-employed into a revised tax credit system is referenced and this is again an area where we have expressed concerns in the past; we welcome the recommendation that JCP staff need to be upskilled to better support the self-employed, but this must be to complement the provision of third party specialist self employment support and not in any way to replace it!
Finally we appreciate the infrastructure being developed for the coordination of local business support through Growth Hubs and LEPs, but in many cases these new operators are not taking into account the long standing and excellent support offered by other enterprise support providers in their areas, they are in some cases ignoring it, in others duplicating it, in others still they give little or no credence to non-high growth start ups and so offer no support or signposting at all – as such we welcome the implementation of local and or national coordinating groups on self-employment and would expect those to take some oversight on the provision of support to make sure it is undertaken by the right people, in the right places, and that public money isn’t wasted in the process?
Dawn Whiteley, CEO at National Enterprise Network said, “We are pleased the report specifically focuses on NEA as a valuable programme of support to help those from deprived communities improve their lives, and moreover that the review highlights the value of one individual creating their own job.
However, we are concerned there is no reference to the valuable support that enterprise agencies and many other enterprise support organisations provide, particularly as a number of our members and Board directors put this insight into round table discussions with Baroness Mone and the review team, and one of our Quality Assured Members who is a Prime contractor for NEA hosted a further discussion, endorsing the value that all enterprise support organisations make across the country.
Notwithstanding the omission of this group of social enterprises and the valuable contribution their volunteer mentors and other staff make, we welcome the spotlight being firmly placed on self-employment and would urge DWP to follow up the recommendations without delay.”
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