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Community-based social enterprises (CBSEs), a spatially defined subset of social enterprise, are independent, not-for-profit organisations managed by community members and…
Community-based social enterprises (CBSEs), a spatially defined subset of social enterprise, are independent, not-for-profit organisations managed by community members and committed to delivering long-term benefits to local people. CBSEs respond to austerity and policy reforms by providing services, jobs and other amenities for residents in deprived communities, thus contributing to neighbourhood regeneration. This paper aims to develop a better understanding of how CBSEs perceive accountability, how they apply it in the management and representation of their business and why.
Nine case studies of CBSEs across three European countries (England, the Netherlands and Sweden) are analysed, using data from semi-structured interviews with initiators, board members and volunteers in CBSEs.
CBSEs shape accountability and representation in response to the needs of local communities and in the wake of day-to-day challenges and opportunities. Apart from financial reporting, CBSEs apply informal strategies of accountability which are highly embedded in their way of working and contingent upon their limited resources.
Although research has shown the complex governance position of CBSEs, their application of accountability to target communities and other stakeholders is unclear. The paper coins the term “adaptive accountability,” reflecting a relational, dialectic approach in which formal, costly accountability methods are only applied to legally required forms of accounting, and informal practices are accepted by funding agencies and governments as valid forms of accountability, assessing CBSEs’ societal value in more open terms.
The aim of this paper is to assess the current potential of community entrepreneurship in neighbourhood revitalisation in the US and the UK. The global economic crisis has…
The aim of this paper is to assess the current potential of community entrepreneurship in neighbourhood revitalisation in the US and the UK. The global economic crisis has had a major impact on government spending for urban regeneration. In the context of these austerity regimes, in many European countries, community entrepreneurship and active citizenship are increasingly considered as a means to continue small-scale urban revitalisation. This paper investigates recent literature on both British community enterprises (CEs) and American community development corporations (CDCs).
Starting from a seminal article, this paper reviews literature focusing on the role of CEs and CDCs in neighbourhood revitalisation. Differences and similarities are analysed, taking into account national context differences.
While CDCs have a relatively successful record in affordable housing production in distressed areas, CDCs are fundamentally limited in terms of reversing processes of community decline. CEs in the UK have focused on non-housing issues.
This paper asks the question what CEs can learn from CDCs in terms of scope, aims, strategies, accountability, assets and partnerships with public and private actors. However, a systematic literature review has not been conducted.
This comparison reveals not only similarities but also differences with regard to aims, organisational characteristics, cooperation on multiple scales and community participation. Apart from lessons that can be learned, this paper provides recommendations for further research that should cover the lack of empirical evidence in this field.