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Public Consultation on Draft National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022

From: Department of Rural and Community Development
Open for submissions from: 23 April 2019, 09:00
Closed on: 14 May 2019, 18:00

About this Consultation

Minister Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development has published a draft National Policy on Social Enterprise for public consultation and is seeking the views of stakeholders and the public to inform the policy.


A Social Enterprise is an enterprise whose main objective is to achieve a social impact. It pursues its social objectives by trading - or having an ambition to trade - on an ongoing basis through the provision of goods and/or services, and by reinvesting any surpluses made into achieving its social objectives.

Social enterprises make a valuable contribution to the economic and social progress of Ireland through the creation of jobs and through the delivery of a range of services in areas such as homecare, employment activation, hospitality, catering, retail, environmental services, and social housing to name but a few.

However, social enterprises in Ireland have not yet reached their full potential for a number of reasons, including the absence of a clear policy framework to support their development. A lack of understanding of what social enterprises are, and what they do, has also contributed to a general lack of awareness of social enterprise in Ireland and has made the collection of reliable data on their social and economic impact difficult.

In July 2017, policy responsibility for social enterprise was assigned to the Department of Rural and Community Development. The department has taken the lead on the government commitment in the Action Plan for Rural Development to:

“Develop and publish a National Policy on Social Enterprise which will encompass the full range of activity in this sector.” (APRD, Action 99)

The Policy, which is underpinned by research, consultation and the Irish experience of Social Enterprise, will complement the Action Plan to Support the Community and Voluntary Sectors in Ireland, and the new National Volunteering Strategy, both of which are also being developed by the department.

Taken together, this suite of initiatives will support the full range of organisations that are providing services to communities or tackling social issues, whether through a social enterprise model or through more traditional community services delivery.

The draft policy is focused on three Objectives:

  • building awareness of social enterprise
  • growing and strengthening social enterprise
  • achieving better policy alignment

How to make a submission

The Minister is now inviting the views of stakeholders on the draft policy. These views will contribute to the finalisation of an ambitious, achievable and fit-for-purpose National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland.

The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 14th May 2019.

You can send your submission by email to: SEConsultation@drcd.gov.ie .

Alternatively, responses can be posted to:

Social Enterprise Policy
Address: Rural Strategy and Social Enterprise, Trinity Point, Leinster Street South, Dublin 2, Ireland, D02 EF85
Phone: 0761064900
Email: SEConsultation@drcd.gov.ie

Please include full contact details and the name of the organisation or entity you are responding on behalf of, if relevant.

Submissions should be as concise as possible but in any event should not exceed 10 pages. Any submissions received after the closing date will not be considered.

Freedom of Information

Respondents are advised that the department is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and Data Protection legislation.

Personal, confidential or commercially sensitive information should not be included in your submission and it will be presumed that all information contained in your submission is releasable under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

What we will do with your response

Responses will inform the preparation of the National Policy on Social Enterprise.

All submissions received may be published on the department’s website.

Social Enterprise Policy - Draft for public consultation