Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Representative

Claire Dove OBE

Claire Dove OBE


As VCSE Representative, Claire acts as an intermediary between government and the voluntary sector to champion the Social Value Act and an improvement in commissioning practices.

Claire was appointed as VCSE Crown Representative in February 2018. As a key player in the social enterprise movement for over 30 years she brings a wealth of experience to the role.

Claire has led the award-winning Blackburne House since its inception. From December 2007 to January 2017 Claire was Chair of Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). She is a member of the Alder Hey Hospital Trust and, until recently, was a Board Member for the Charity Commission. She has chaired the Liverpool Fairness Commission on behalf of Liverpool City Council, is currently serving on the Liverpool Mayoral Development Board and is chair of the Society Advisory Board for the British Council.

On her appointment Claire said:

It’s an honour to take on this role. Millions of people benefit from the work that charities and social enterprises do and I cannot wait to get started to ensure this sector continues to go from strength to strength.

Claire’s work in her role as VCSE Crown Representative includes:

  • Enabling a thriving voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

  • Working with industry and sector experts to identify and reduce barriers to VCSE participation in public service markets - including those small and medium sized

  • Raising awareness of and improving use of the Social Value Act in central government and the wider public sector


VCSEs: a bidder’s guide to working with government

Claire has commissioned this guidance document for VCSEs looking to work with central and local government.

Please direct general enquiries about this document to the Office for Civil Society (OCS) at enquiries@culture.gov.uk.

Civil Society Strategy: building a future that works for everyone

August 2018

This Strategy sets out how government will work with and for civil society in the long-term to create a country that works for everyone. Read the full report here


Local Government Procurement Expo: 28th November 2018

  • For the public sector, LGPE 2018 is designed specifically to enhance the overall skills and knowledge of those personnel who are influencing or engaging directly within procurement across the local government marketplace.

Previous events

  • Claire attended the Social Enterprise roundtable on 18th June 2018, hosted by the Prime Minister to discuss the role of social enterprise in the UK and how the government can support growth in the sector.

  • We have hosted social value workshops in Manchester, Birmingham, Kirklees and Essex to review the application of the Social Value Act and inform the Civil Society Strategy.

  • Claire has attended and taken part in sector led events including the Small Charities Week Policy Day Reception, Social Value Summit and a forum for Inside Government.

Getting Support

Claire wants to work collaboratively with VCSEs and wider civil society to draw on their knowledge and expertise. There are already multiple sources of support for both commissioners and VCSEs linked on this page, plus a lot more planned for the months ahead.

To make the most of these opportunities make sure you follow Claire on twitter for updates @VCSECrownRep

Claire is also working closely with Emma Jones, Crown Representative for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on the government’s aspiration to spend £1 in every £3 with SMEs (this includes VCSEs). The government is Open for Business to VCSE sector organisations of all shapes and sizes.

We will be adding to the online resources currently available starting with a guide to support VCSEs bidding for government contracts, written in consultation with representatives of both sectors.

Social Value Act: information and resources

The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013. It requires people who commission public services to think about how they can also secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits.

Before they start the procurement process, commissioners should think about whether the services they are going to buy, or the way they are going to buy them, could secure these benefits for their area or stakeholders.

The Act is a tool to help commissioners get more value for money out of procurement. It also encourages commissioners to talk to their local provider market or community to design better services, often finding new and innovative solutions to difficult problems.

You can find an introductory guide to the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012 for commissioners and policymakers here and case studies on social value implementation and measurement here.

Contracts Finder

Register with Contracts Finder to keep updated on new and upcoming contracts worth over £10,000 with the government and its agencies.

Public Procurement Review Service

If you have a concern you’d like to raise about the procurement process or a problem with payment on a public contract you can let us know via the Public Procurement Review Service, and they will investigate for you.


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Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Representative

The VCSE Representative acts as an intermediary between government and the voluntary sector to champion the Social Value Act and an improvement in commissioning practices.

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