This workshop aimed to provide an overview of the existing literature on social enterprise models of social care provision in the UK, Europe and USA.

Like all public services, social care is currently under great pressure to do more with less in the context of significant cuts in public spending and a demographic reality in which demands for services will inexorably continue to rise. It has been argued, however, that this challenging economic environment might actually provide a unique opportunity to make services better and more sustainable.

This workshop, running as part of WISERD’s All Wales Academic Social Care Collaboration (ASCC) project, aimed to provide an overview of the existing literature on social enterprise models of social care provision in the UK, Europe and USA. Specific examples were provided to underline some of the key issues and lessons that can be learned from the collective experiences of various countries.

Topics covered included: the claimed differences between third sector and state/private models of social services provision; the criteria by which these models can or should be judged as being successful; and the impact of these models on the quality of care being offered/delivered by third sector organisations.

Invited guest speakers contributed to discussion on the pragmatic considerations involved with encouraging and developing the involvement of social enterprises, cooperatives and other third sector organisations in the delivery of adult social care services, and the influence of recent policy initiatives in this area.