Hall, K., Miller, R. and Millar, R. (2011) Jumped or pushed: what motivates public sector staff to ‘spin out’? Paper presented to: 3rd International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC), South Bank University, London, 12-13 September 2011.
Social enterprise has been promoted in recent years as a way in which to transform and improve the delivery of public sector services. This includes the ‘Right to Request’ policy, which was introduced in England in 2008 to encourage NHS workers to develop their own social enterprises to deliver community health services. Although the ‘Right to Request’ programme has now been closed to new bids, the coalition government have built on this policy by developing ‘Right to Provide’, which enables staff within health and social care services to take over the services they deliver under a new social enterprise model. To date, around 25,000 NHS staff have been involved in the creation of social enterprises; however, there is limited evidence on the experiences of establishing a social enterprise to deliver public services, especially healthcare services. This paper presents the qualitative experiences of individuals who adopted the Right to Request policy, focusing on motivations to ‘spin out’ of the NHS. It looks at what inspires individuals working in the public sector to leave to become social entrepreneurs and the extent to which the policy itself has been successful in raising entrepreneurial aspirations in NHS managers and clinicians. This paper therefore furthers our understanding of the experiences, prospects and pitfalls of social entrepreneurs emerging from within the public sector