SE Vision 2025 – Building a New Economy
SE Vision Steering Group
The SE Vision 2025 (Feb 2015) sets out a blueprint for how SE can increase its contribution to the economic, social and environmental well-being of communities across Scotland over the next decade. The SE Census (Sept 2015) has provided us with a benchmark on the current size and sale of the sector.
Over the last decade social enterprise has enjoyed growing levels of political and economic support, with Scottish Government recognising social enterprise as an important partner in our economy, in civic society and public services, and in the creation of a fairer and more inclusive Scotland.
The actions and activities (listed below),arrived at after widespread consultation, reflect a level of consensus on what requires to be done to build on the progress made over the last decade – with an overriding emphasis on supporting the local economy, local decision-making, and local services delivered by local providers.
In doing so, we believe we will be able to grow the social enterprise movement further and faster.
a) Building a movement – more confident; more coherent; more wide-reaching
The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprises has been recognised as the basis for a self-regulating community in Scotland. While the Code should continue to evolve, we remain steadfast in recognising the importance of ‘asset locked’ structures.
1. Developing networks (SENs) – accelerate and strengthen this grassroots movement to cover all parts of Scotland – ensuring the important role SEN can play in providing peer support, mentoring, collective representation and strategic engagement at a local level is available to SEs no matter where they are based.
2. Supporting collaboration and exchange – encourageco-operation; sharing resources; buying and sharing from each other.
3. Stronger engagement across Government – Scottish Govt Third Sector division to host annual meeting of Govt Department Reps/Heads and SE sector Reps for sharing of information on existing and potential cross-departmental working.
4. A strong national voice – SE needs to clarify how it wishes to represent itself – avoiding overlap or duplication – and needs to act on this before it is imposed on it. This may require a review of existing role of SE Intermediaries so as to ensure most effective and consistent means of delivery.
5. Representing and supporting SEs locally – Scottish Govt needs to clarify precise role of TSIs in supporting SEs – and the relationship with local SENs (where they exist).
6. Measuring and demonstrating impact – Establish an agreed and credible method of measuring social impact that can accurately reflect the work of SEs – taking into accounts all necessary and contributing factors
7. Raising awareness – See C1
b) Building capability: – investment, business support and leadership development.
1. Govt Funding/Investment – sharper distinction made between the widespread availability of first-phase seed funding and carefully packaged follow-on support (where repayable finance is explicit and prominent in the funding mix).
2. Developing responsive financial products – greater innovation in the financial instruments available to SEs – including tailored of loans (interest free or low interest) and/or patient recoverable capital – and should be consistent with the values of SE community -avoiding replication of payment-by-results models.
3. Business support – retain specialist provision – deliver/contract at a local level wherever possible. Greater transparency re SEs accessing support – to avoid duplication.
c) Building markets that are open to social enterprises and in which they can thrive
1. Delivering a sustained national campaign – Govt to support national campaign – including exploring a Scottish version of Buy Social. Also to support local initiatives – i.e Edinburgh’s ‘Buy the Good Stuff’.
2. Supporting consumer-facing enterprises – We must raise aspirations, encourage more social enterprises to respond to customer demand and aspire to delivering the highest quality.
3. Procurement focused on social value – Provisions of the Procurement Reform Act must go further – ensuring that Community Benefit Clauses are embedded more widely across public contracts – and all public sector contractors and sub-contractors be encouraged to pay a living wage. Need to extend support for SEs in collaborating/partnering in tendering opportunities.
4. Keeping it small and local – Public authorities must find ways to make the most of small, local SE suppliers, keeping services local and responsive to needs. This should also include Scottish Govt national contracts supporting SE/Third Sector organisations and local communities – applying also to national employability programmes and Housing Associations (HAs).
d) Building on potential by making the most of assets available to us – human and physical assets
1. Social Enterprise in Education Programme – Scottish Govt and Education Authorities must continue to support the development of self-sustaining social enterprise activity and learning opportunities in every school in Scotland – and to include engagement with local SE sector.
2. Incubating social enterprise through further and higher education – Scottish Funding Council to follow the lead of its England counterpart (HEFCE) and support a co-ordinated programme of work to stimulate and support social entrepreneurship in further and higher education.
3. Stimulating social entrepreneurship + developing community anchor organisations – SE finds its ideal form in community enterprise – democratically owned and accountable to a particular community. There is a need to work closely with development trusts, HAs, and other community anchor organisations in developing stronger, more resilient and independent communities
4. Incentivising new social enterprises – making SE a more attractive and straightforward option for entrepreneurs at the start-up stage – including tax incentives; accessibility to incubation spaces combined with Business Rates relief; plus more ambitious packages of back-office support (e.g. insurance, banking, IT, book-keeping) delivered where possible by social enterprise suppliers.
5. Supporting ventures to start, grow and reach scale – with hundreds of social entrepreneurs identified and supported each year, we must maintain a ladder of funding – to include follow on support and ‘accelerator’ funds – see B1
6. Delivering effective employability programmes – As responsibility for key programmes is transferred to Scotland, a radically different model of employability provision must be pursued – as opposed to Work Programme, Payment-By-Results mechanisms, and Prime Contractor models – and, whenever possible, delivered with local partners.