Highland and Island Social Enterprise Profile
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Executive Summary: 11 Recommendations
Recommendation 1: The database produced as part of the study should be updated on an on-going basis by Account Managers and Strengthening Communities teams so that new organisations are recorded as they are established, structural changes (such as changes to a key contact) are captured and the database is cleaned of organisations that are no longer trading.
Recommendation 2: To ensure the quality of the database, while also guarding against research fatigue, the research team recommend that enterprising third sector organisations are requested to update their data template on a two yearly basis.
Recommendation 3: Consideration should be given to sector specific research to support the development and sustained involvement of social enterprise in service provision including the projection of need going forward.
Recommendation 4: A strategy should be developed to facilitate the involvement of enterprising third sector organisations in public consultation on the content of the Sustainable Procurement Bill.
Recommendation 5: A programme of activities should be established to ensure there is continued working with established social enterprise networks, HISEZ and the Single Interfaces to facilitate regular, coordinated networking opportunities.
Recommendation 6: The inclusion of private sector organisations in networking sessions with enterprising third sector organisations may promote knowledge transfer, shared understanding and the development of collaborative relationships.
Recommendation 7: Partners (HIE, HISEZ, Single Interfaces and Business Gateway) should work together to explore how the existing support infrastructure can be better linked and provided as a joined up offer, with clear boundaries around the support provided by each partner. Access to support through a recognised single point or trusted individual is a theme emerging through qualitative research as organisations require assistance to access the most appropriate support for their varied needs.
Recommendation 8: Wherever possible, business support, advice and workforce development should be available at local level. This helps reduce barriers to participation for those living in remote and isolated areas and minimises the burden on volunteers balancing training and development activity with other commitments.
Recommendation 9: To maximise engagement and bring about sustained change and development in business practice, business support and workforce development activity should be delivered in a flexible way. This should include the use of technology for those living in remote areas, and flexible learning structures.
Recommendation 10: Partners should come together to discuss the options for providing this type of support.
Recommendation 11: Options on supporting recruitment and the development of good practice in human resource management among enterprising third sector organisations should be explored along with identification of organisations that could have a role in providing this support e.g. HISEZ. This could take a number of forms:
• Support to engender cultural change and reduce dependence on volunteer time;
• Support to access funding and finance to allow the recruitment of paid staff;
• Support to develop appropriate job descriptions that will attract applicants with a commitment to the social mission of the organisation along with the business skills to support growth;
• Support to develop HR policy and practice making social enterprise attractive as a career of choice for suitably skilled individuals and ensuring that they are not overburdened in their roles.
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