Devolution of the welfare state? A three country comparative analysis of social enterprises within welfare state models

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Kinder, B 2016, 'Devolution of the welfare state? A three country comparative analysis of social enterprises within welfare state models', Blue Gum, no. 3, pp. 102-118.

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This project examines social enterprise provision of training and employment for homeless people in a three country analysis. It seeks to understand how devolving state responsibilities for the provision of welfare services has contributed to the rise of social enterprises as third sector actors in the welfare space and what consequences this has for further devolution of government responsibilities towards citizens. It considers if social enterprises can provide long-term sustainable employment for the homeless and it aims to determine if social enterprises can deliver better social justice outcomes than governments. Three social enterprises offering training and employment to the homeless in Britain, the Czech Republic and Spain to conduct walking tours of London, Prague and Barcelona were evaluated via interviews, observation and an analysis of mission statements. The geopolitical location of these three European social enterprises is of significance because each state, at various times in their histories, has had very different ideological understandings of the role of the state in providing welfare. The study found that while there was coherence between mission statements and social justice objectives only two of the social enterprises had an impact on delivering sustainable employment for homeless people. This paper discusses the findings of this research, considers the place of social enterprises within the context of the devolving welfare state, and posits the need for further research into social enterprises as an alternative to state-provided welfare.

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