What it means to be a Social Enterprise

Community Dental Services is an employee owned social enterprise and Community Interest Company


CDS is part of a growing trend as Social enterprises are becoming an increasingly popular business model.


As a social enterprise we are a business that trades for a social purpose. We have a clear sense of our social mission which is ‘Improving Oral Health in Ever More Communities’ and we know what difference we are trying to make, who we aim to help, and how we plan to do it.


We make our income through delivering dental care and oral health promotion.  Our services are predominantly commissioned by either Public Health England and Local Authorities to deliver NHS dental care and oral health promotion advice to a wide range of people across a diverse range of communities.  We also offer some privately paid for dental treatments and have a growing ‘Dentist at Home’ mobile service where we offer paid for dental care and home visits to people who find it difficult to travel.


We are a trusted health provider and business partner and are a profit making organisation but as a social enterprise we have clear rules about what we do with our profits and ensure we reinvest these to further our ‘social mission’.


So what makes us different?

Our social impact

This inforgraph shows some simple statistics on how we have made a difference.

CDS Social Impact 2017/18

We want to make a difference

As a social enterprise we are passionate about delivering patient centred dental and oral health promotion services and achieving our social mission.  This motivates us as much, if not more, than the challenge of running a profitable business. Many companies may consider themselves to have social objectives, but as a social enterprise we are distinctive because our social purpose is central to what we do.


We are not in it for the money

Social enterprises compete in the market like any other business. We pursue and make a profit, but we are not consumed by the motive of personal gain and don't want to be forced into serving the interests of external shareholders. We continually reinvest our profits back into the business or directly into the community.


We’re mould-breakers

As a Social enterprise we are not afraid of breaking with conventional business models to find new, more sustainable ways of improving the world around us. We always put our patients at the centre of all that we do and design our services in the best possible way around their needs.   We are fundamentally about doing what's right by our patients, by our employees and the communities we serve.


We’re meeting a need

We are not constrained by other people's ideas of what particular types of organisations may be best-placed to deliver services to our patients. We are always working on solutions - whether that's providing better oral health care and advice or finding a way to improve the experience for our patients, like our mobile dental units which can take the dentist to the patient.


We combine a public service ethos with the innovation and dynamism of a business. We were formed in 2011 as a spin out from the NHS and emerged with a vision and a belief that being a competitive, well-run and profitable business is the best way of achieving social aims.  So chose to become an employee owned social enterprise Community Interest Company.


We are a Community Interest Company

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a legal model specifically designed for social enterprises, which is growing in popularity. CDS is a CIC limited by shares and although CICs limited by shares are subject to a dividend cap, we have made the decision at Board level never to issue a dividend.


The assets of our business are protected for the benefit of the communities we serve and as a limited company we must also comply with the requirements of company law in general, and accordingly must file annual accounts and returns at Companies House in addition to our responsibilities to the CIC Regulator.