Supporting new cooperation models for the social economy

RegioStars 2013 FinalistThe PASE project has helped reinforce public authority support for social enterprises, and strengthened their role as a driving force in regional and local sustainable development. With input from nine partners, it has identified 40 social enterprise models and experiences, and come up with a handful of publications to boost support for social enterprises across the EU, targeting both the private and public sectors.

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Social enterprises are increasingly recognised for their capacity to tackle major economic and social imbalances, while benefiting their local community in general. However, this entrepreneurship comes in many forms and the deployment of related policies in the project countries is uneven.

PASE, led by Italy’s Marche Region, aimed to boost the effectiveness of regional public policies in promoting and supporting social entrepreneurship. Further goals included increasing the capacity of policymakers and local stakeholders to define policies which will encourage social enterprises, as well as to create specific tools to promote social entrepreneurship.

Among the partners were seven public authorities at the regional and local levels, a school of public administration, and a public training centre.

Highlighting good practices

The 40 social enterprise models and experiences identified through PASE are examples of regional and local authorities enhancing cooperation with their local partners, while providing concrete ideas and methods for transferring the ‘good practices’ from one context to another. Seventeen of these were compiled in a 'Good practices catalogue'.

A report 'New public instruments strengthening the role of social enterprises as driving force in regional and local sustainable development and Guidelines for their implementation in different EU MS' offers ideas on developing new and innovative instruments to foster new kinds of social partnership and procurement models at local public levels.

One of these is an annual school on public social partnerships and public procurement, devoted to networking and training issues. Another, the development of an action plan, is based on the methodology of tested projects, for rolling out guidelines in a given territory.

Another key publication, ‘The Resource-integrating state: Development potential vs. the quality of public regulations’, looks at the way public authorities use the potential of their local partners to stimulate socio-economic processes. It covers regulations enacted by public authorities plus ways public authorities and local stakeholders can remove structural barriers.

Developing relationships

PASE helped to redefine the relationship between public and private sectors dealing with social services, in terms of their regional policies and strategies for service provision. A key recommendation is to involve social enterprises in the planning, design, management and evaluation of the social services system.

The project also helped to improve regional and local policies on social enterprise, chiefly to remove structural barriers facing public authorities and local stakeholders. In Marche, for instance, a law has been modified to encourage more co-planning between the public and private sectors. In Arges (RO), the council recently made it a strategic goal to promote and support the social economy for the benefit of disadvantaged groups.

Sustainability of the project is ensured thanks to the transfer of good practices, notably resulting in the Polish and Romanian partners forging new policy models for social enterprise. Other PASE proposals to ensure its sustainability at national and European level include allowing Member States to give greater support to their social enterprises and setting up dedicated networks.

PASE results have been presented in international conferences and discussed by European panels on the social economy. The project was also actively involved in the EU discussion on the Single Market Act, as a good practice presented at a Committee of the Regions thematic forum in November 2010. A community of practices has been activated on the project website.

PASE has highlighted the importance of exchange and transfer of good practices on the social economy, not only at interregional level but also between institutions and stakeholders.’
Mauro Terzoni, head of European Policies Department and Managing Authorities for the ERDF and ESF, Marche Region

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