Integration of Communities Scotland national social economy and social enterprise function with Scottish Executive Third Sector Team
Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell MSP underlined his commitment to the voluntary sector and to social enterprise by clarifying yesterday (21st June 2007) that the Social Economy Unit (SEU) of Communities Scotland will be integrated into the Scottish Executive Third Sector Team in the Public Service Reform Directorate, which is part of the responsibilities of Director General for Economy, Dr Andrew Goudie.
The SEU, located within a regeneration context in Communities Scotland, has achieved much over the past 3 years. This includes a strong contribution to raising the profile of social economy approaches to service delivery; successful operation of the £18m Futurebuilders Scotland programme; and delivery of Better Business – a strategy and action plan for social enterprise in Scotland. The SEU has developed strong links throughout the social economy and Government.
But the formation of a Third Sector Team within the Public Service Reform Directorate is a great opportunity to bring together policy interests across the spectrum of third sector, social economy and social enterprise. This will allow national policy responsibility to be integrated and streamlined. In particular the remits of the existing Third Sector Team and the SEU were converging considerably in areas related to public service reform and public sector procurement and in the use of the social enterprise business model as a way of ensuring the financial sustainability of the third sector.
Ministeral direction will be provided by John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth. The new Third Sector/Social Economy Team will, however, work across Government as the issues it will be dealing with are truly cross-cutting.
Responsibilities for implementation of the social enterprise strategy, wider social economy support, Futurebuilders Scotland and the Scottish Credit Union Fund will transfer to the new Third Sector Team. The Wider Role programme for Registered Social Landlords will remain with Communities Scotland. Communities Scotland area offices will also continue to support Local Social Economy Partnerships and provide other local social economy support.
All existing links and funding commitments with stakeholders will be maintained under the new arrangements. Members of the new Third Sector Team will be arranging meetings with stakeholders to explain the new arrangements. Existing SEU staff will be transferring to the Third Sector/Social Economy Team as appropriate.
Integration will take effect immediately in relation to policy development and from early August in relation to staff and budget transfers.
For further information please contact Roddy Macdonald, Head of Social Economy Unit on 0131 479 5129