Charity & Social Enterprise Sector Debate 2019 - London

The Motion:

"To be, or not to be, that is the question"

This oft-quoted line from Hamlet opens Prince Hamlet’s soliloquy in which he bemoans the pain and unfairness of life, but acknowledges that the alternative might be far worse.  So what does this have to do with charities and social enterprises?

The traditional model of charity is built on the principle of philanthropy; individuals donate what they can to be used by charities in a prudent manner to achieve charitable impact.  The business model is intentionally designed to operate in a prudent fashion, not taking risks, whilst being run as close to a deficit as is possible.  Charities are expected to be and behave as charities.  But what is the alternative?

In recent years in all areas of society we have seen technology and social development drive change at an unparalleled rate.  The business model upon which much of the private sector is based has changed; whereas consumers once valued ownership (for example, cars, CDs, records) now they value access on a subscription model (for example, car clubs, streaming services). Many “traditional” for profit businesses now aim to make a positive impact, rather than simply focussing on growth and enhanced shareholder value. Changes in technology and society have enabled this to happen, creating a spectrum of social enterprises that are able to have a social purpose, while also creating wealth. 

In a speech soon after her appointment, Baroness Stowell, Chair of the Charity Commission, said “People can find other ways to do good that do not depend on registered charities”.  She concluded: “We cannot assume that the concept of the registered charity remains the primary vehicle through which people express their charitable instincts into the future”.    

So, “To be, or not to be (a registered charity), that is the question”.

Stone King has put together a panel of leading experts from across the third sector to debate whether the future of the sector should remain dependant on a model of philanthropy to deliver positive purpose as opposed to leading the change for social enterprises that deliver impact whilst generating wealth for those who lead them.  The debate will include an opportunity to put questions on this theme to the panel and will be followed by networking drinks.

Our Speakers


Baroness Pitkeathley
President of NCVO



Jonathan Bland
Managing Director at Social Business International


To be:

Jonathan Burchfield - Charity Partner, Stone King
Rosie Chapman - Chair of the Charity Governance Code Steering Group
Kathy Evans - Chief Executive, Children England


Not to be:

Julian Blake - Social Enterprise Partner, Stone King
Chris Wright - Chief Executive, Catch22
Vicky Browning - Chief Executive, ACEVO

Date & Location

Wednesday 16 October 2019

One Birdcage Walk,


3.30pm - Arrival and registration

4.00pm - Debate begins

6.00pm - Closing comments, followed by drinks and canapés 

8.00pm - End of event


Places at this event will be charged at £50.

Clients of Stone King are invited to attend for free by emailing Please include in your email any dietary requirements of which we may need to be aware.


Any cancellation received with less than 2 working days’ notice will not be entitled to a refund. Your booking can be transferred into a name of a substitute delegate at any time - please contact Events or call 0800 111 4336 with the details.

Legal 500 logo

Investors in People logo

UK Chambers logo

Best Companies - One to watch logo