Charities, Third Sector & Social Enterprise: Programme for Government

Brodies, by Alan Eccles


The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (2019-20) was set out today.  It has a number of items that will affect charities, the third sector and social enterprises.  Here are some key sector announcements.  We will have follow up blogs (and comment at forthcoming seminars) to look at some of some continuing developments in more detail.

The place of the sectors in Scottish society… and the world

“The actions set out in this Programme for Government are only achievable with partnership and collaboration. The shared ambition of individuals, communities, businesses, local government, the public and third sectors to make Scotland a fairer, more equal and successful country is vital to realise our potential.”

“We will build on our collective achievements and reinforce the critical partnerships between national and local government, the third sector and the many public sector bodies that all have a part to play in improving the wellbeing of our people and communities.”

“Scotland’s eco-system of support for social enterprise is world-leading.”

Charity law reform

“Building on the results of a national consultation on charity law, we will work collaboratively with partners to continue to develop and refine proposals to promote transparency and accountability.” For an overview of the consultation and its headline outcomes, read our blog.

Sport and the community

“We will create a new Community Sport Bond worth up to £5 million. We know that, for supporter and community groups, not having access to capital funds has been the main barrier to them being able to take ownership stakes in their local clubs. The Bond will empower communities and groups and strengthen local decision-making by giving groups the chance to acquire a share or control of their local sports club. To be eligible to apply for the Bond, groups must show clear community focus and support and, in particular, demonstrate how involvement in the running of their club would be used to support women and girls’ participation in sports.”

Safeguarding and disclosure

“We have introduced legislation to strengthen the protection of children and vulnerable people, while making the system of applying for criminal record checks more straightforward. The Disclosure Bill makes the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme mandatory for anyone working with children or vulnerable people, such as sports coaches, and applying a renewable five-year membership rather than a lifetime membership.” For more on the Disclosure Bill and what it means as well as the latest law about the sharing of information about children and young people, join our seminars in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Digital safety

“We are continuing to support the public sector, businesses and the third sector to build their cyber defences, aided by £500,000 investment in a Cyber Essentials voucher scheme for small businesses and charities.”

Cultural sector

“We will shortly publish a Culture Strategy for Scotland, following national culture conversation. The strategy will highlight the intrinsic value &reach of culture & its transformational potential to contribute to individual, community and national wellbeing and prosperity”

“We will invest £150,000 as part of the International Creative Ambition Programme to strengthen Scotland’s cultural links around the world. Supporting young artists to perform at major cultural gatherings will help them to build international connections, sharing cultural experiences, knowledge, skills and experiences to shape our understanding of the world.”

Social enterprise and investment

“By next spring, we will publish the second social enterprise action plan, co-produced with the sector, to continue to drive forward this inclusive way of doing business.” and “We will work to identify more opportunities for multi-year grant programmes, as well as test new innovative models of commissioning and social investment.”

Credit unions

“We will also launch a new £10 million Credit Union Investment Fund to increase the number of people saving and borrowing from Credit Unions. The fund will provide loans to Credit Unions to strengthen their balance sheets and increase their digital and physical presence, boosting their ability to support more people.”

Progression of the Non-Domestic Rates Bill

“Our Non-Domestic Rates Bill sets out… how we will ensure a level playing field by reforming a number of reliefs and tackling known avoidance measures.” For more on this Bill, read our blog.

Future of housing stock

“We want to build this vision together with the people of Scotland and so have engaged widely with stakeholders over the past year, including local government, businesses, the third sector, home owners, tenants and others. We published our draft vision and principles in July and will consult widely on these and how we make them a reality over the next few months. We will then publish our Housing to 2040 vision and route map in spring next year.”

Early years mental health and childhood adversity

“During 2019 and 2020, we will support the third sector to deliver counselling and befriending services for women who might benefit from additional support in their community.”

“We are supporting community action to prevent and respond to childhood adversity and trauma, including the Families and Communities Fund for third sector organisations and investment from the Cashback for Communities programme.”

2020: Year of Coast and Waters

“We will make £50,000 available for one-off grants for community groups, charities and social enterprises to hold themed events, codesigned with young people.”