The relationship between social enterprise and local government is being put under the microscope with the release of a new study by The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) and the University of Tasmania.

The report details the relationship between social enterprises, which are locally focussed organisations that serve a need of the community using commercial trading activities, and the local government bodies.

The report found that there are already a number of councils in Australia involved in social enterprise development.

One of the report’s key authors, Dr Robyn Eversole, said that there is a newfound interest by local government in the new kinds of relationships that can be formed between these two bodies.

“We know that some councils have been involved in social enterprise development, but we don’t know much about what role social enterprises play – or may play in the future – for local councils in helping them meet their goals. This is the first time a study has been conducted to look at these questions,” Dr Eversole said.

The research reviews relevant literature in Australia, the US, Canada, the UK and Europe, and identifies three main types of local government-social enterprise interaction:

  • Local government creating social enterprises
  • Local government supporting social enterprises
  • Local government partnering with social enterprises.

The full report can be found here