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£6m fund launched to support social enterprise innovation

Local Partnerships, a HM Treasury and Local Government Association (LGA) own company, has launched a new fund that will see public sector spin-outs able to access loans between £250,000 and £1m.

Known as the Technology Spin-Out Fund (TSF), the loans are to be invested in improving health and social care services, with the aim of supporting the growing numbers of public spin-outs.

Money spent will provide technology that will help deliver and improve existing services, or aid organisational efficiencies like integration of patient care records.

Spin-outs are employee-led organisations that formally belonged in the public sector, but have come together as standalone social enterprises to provide public services.

According to Local Partnerships, the fund has been established in response to the need to improve patient care and build organisation resilience.

“Health and social care services in our communities are under strain. But the growing number of social enterprises delivering these services is bringing much needed innovation to help improve care,” claimed Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive at investor firm Big Society Capital.

Big Society Capital, which describes itself as the world’s first social investment wholesaler, is partially funding TSF, along with the Department of Health (DoH).

“Simple things like providing mobile technology to community nurses and GPs can help cut down paperwork and mean there is more time spent with patients,” said O’Donohoe.

“This fund will help provide the finance to make these sorts of changes happen by supporting social enterprises wanting to use technology to become more efficient,” he added.

Government support for the scheme

Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb has welcomed the news and supports the idea of such new forms of start-up.

“Spin-outs and mutual are driving new, innovative ways of delivering better health and care services to their local areas,” he claimed.

“But they need the right technology to help them – having the right systems and software can help integrate services and frew up staff time to spend with patients rather than paperwork,” Lamb added.

Organisations that halve already launched their enterprise, working in health and social care and deliver services in England will be eligible to apply for the loans.

Local Partnerships says the first awards will be in the summer this year and are likely to average £500,000.