One of the more baffling claims in the ‘Liberating the NHS’ white paper is that it will turn the health service into “the largest social enterprise sector in the world”. The claim is baffling because the paper has very little to say about social enterprises (aka “John Lewis-style organisations”). However, Social Enterprise magazine has discovered that it’s all a question of terminology.
Apparently, health secretary Andrew Lansley thinks that foundation trusts will qualify because they have “characteristics” of social enterprises, such as operating outside central government control and setting their own objectives. Even if the Social Enterprise Coalition disagrees. Oh, and Lansley thinks joint ventures qualify as well. Even if old lefties call them “privatisations.” Words, words, they are all we have to go on.