Correspondence with Bryan Poole from Fife CVS

Correspondence with Bryan Poole from Fife CVS

Letter to Senscot

Dear Laurence,
Re this week’s Bulletin.

When I read this week’s introduction my initial reaction was to write and volunteer to support you, in a way of your choosing, to ‘dissuade her ladyship’ from bullying you (and goodness knows who else!!). That is still my reaction and the offer is there.

That offer is there and still there in spite of your second paragraph.

Your continual carping about Third Sector Interfaces – in a very public way – is unhelpful to both  the Interfaces and Social Enterprise.

I wish our economy – UK; Scotland the world – was run exclusively adhering to the value base of the Social Enterprise Sector and I have little doubt that you would share that wish. However, as I’m sure we both acknowledge that is unlikely to happen in our lifetime – The Social Enterprise Sector is but a pin-prick within the society we currently live in.

So how can we grow it? Maybe one way is too appeal to those who work in and/or are involved in the Voluntary Sector.  Many of those involved in the ‘Voluntary Sector’ share the value base of the Social Enterprise Sector and are dipping their toes into the water around the notion of ‘becoming more enterprising and developing income generation activity for social purposes’ – not a Social Enterprise in the purists sense but surely a step in that direction. You might want to ask yourself if the continual knocking of Interfaces is helping in taking those steps.

The Social Enterprise Sector in Fife has had  a seat in all discussions around the development of Interfaces from the outset. The Constitution of the Fife Interface specifically stipulates Social Enterprise involvement and John Oates, on behalf of the Social Enterprise Sector has played a very positive role in getting the Interface to where it currently is. It will of course be the Board of the Fife Interface to decide but I would anticipate that support/development of Social Enterprise related activity in Fife will be pursued in partnership with  Social Enterprise organisations with BRAG playing a central role.

I’m not sure what you mean ‘CsVS have not modernised’ but I object to being ‘lumped together’ (a Fife Term!!!) in a general description ‘some areas continue to resist social enterprise networks’. That approach reminds me of an organisation that has a problematic member of staff and rather than deal with the problematic member of staff ‘reorganises’ the problematic member of staff out of the organisation. If Interfaces are excluding Social Enterprise then deal with them. Please don’t lump Fife with your general ‘mump’ (another Fife Term).

A final point. I’m not sure what makes the ‘perfect Interface’  and undoubtedly there will be some in Scotland that work better than others.  And there will be some that work better with Social Enterprise than others – that’s pretty much true of life. The same of course applies to Social Enterprise. There will be some networks that are quite effective and there will be others that are less so. And there will be some Social Enterprise Networks/Social Enterprises (as I think is the case in Fife) that work well with Interfaces and there will be some that don’t or possibly can’t. Those in Glass Houses should perhaps think very carefully about throwing stones – particularly in public . This takes me back to my initial point – the public carping is unhelpful to Interfaces and Social Enterprise.

Bryan Poole
Project Lead – Fife Third Sector Interface/Manager CVS Fife
CVS Fife


Senscot’s Response


Thanks for getting back to us on this. Without wishing to go through your email point by point, we would accept a number of your general points and, in particular, your experiences in Fife. We would say, however, that Fife, with a few others, is probably an exception rather than the norm.

All our evidence confirms that many of the social enterprise networks that have sought to participate/ engage in the `supporting social enterprise` function of the Interfaces have met with significant resistence to their involvement at a local level – I could cite 6 examples. Whilst we acknowledge that not all Networks are currently in a position to participate fully, those that are,we believe, merit a `seat at the table`.

Whether or not our `carping` is helpful is difficult to determine. It has, however, helped to resolve matters where there has been an impasse.

We would much prefer to be reporting more positively on the progress in the establishment of the Interfaces etc. We would argue strongly that we have been pro-active in trying to build positive relationships with VAS and, together with Social Firms Scotland and the Coalition, have made a number of offers to assist Interfaces – obviously with reference to the `supporting social enterprise` function. Whilst these offers have been nominally welcomed, they have not been acted upon. Hopefully, this will change.

Two final points: Firstly, I would be more than happy to discuss this further either in person or over the phone. Secondly, would you be okay with us including your email in this week’s bulletin. I should add that there is another email (from Western Isles) – also saying we’re `carping` – that we hope to include.

Let me know what you think.

Best wishes,