Senscot Governance – Proposed Amendments
Senscot was first established as an unincorporated organisation in July 1999. In 2004, it incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee – with charitable status.
Our Governing Articles offer two types of company membership – full membership to individuals; and associate membership to organisations.
Both categories offer the same ‘rights’ to both full company and associate members. Each year, Senscot attracts around 100 full members and 30 associate members. This has not really changed over the years.
Senscot’s work, over 20 years, has focussed on four main areas of activity:
- ‘Informing’ via our weekly bulletin; thematic newsletters; and supporting website.
- ‘Connecting’ and ‘consulting’ through support to 16 local and 6 thematic SENs – forums of peer support, collective action and market development for SEs.
- ‘Developing’, with others, new services to strengthen Scotland’s social economy.
- Seeking to ‘represent‘ the best interests, behaviours and values of the front line SE community in Scotland – as reflected in the SE Voluntary Code of Practice.
Looking back, we believe that Senscot has made a significant and positive contribution to the support infrastructure for Scotland’s social enterprise (SE) community at both a local and national level.
However, we are also conscious that the sector in Scotland is continually evolving – and the Senscot Board has been discussing how Senscot itself should be evolving.
One step we took, in 2017, was to agree that as new places became available on the Senscot Board, these should be filled by those who were representative of local or thematic SENs. Today, the majority of our current 9 Trustees meet this criterion.
This was to reflect the activity that has dominated our work over the last 15 years – developing and supporting both local and thematic Social Enterprise Networks (SENs).
Today, there are currently 16 local and 6 thematic SENs – 1300 social enterprises engaged or members – all beginning to play an increasingly influential role both locally and nationally.
However, in spite of this increasing role, funding and resources remain inconsistent and inadequate across the country – and, as the SENs are becoming more active, they are also increasingly aware of not having a formal, effective and ‘collective voice’ at national level.
The Board of Senscot is now proposing to take this one stage further and seek to embed the SENs and their members at the heart of the Senscot membership and governance structure.
This, in effect, will more formally provide this ‘collective voice’ for the 1300 grassroots social enterprises engaged in our wider network of networks – with Senscot evolving into their representative body at a national level.
We continue to value the role and contribution of our existing individual members and, as part of this proposal, wish to ensure that this relationship can be maintained.
At our Annual General Meeting, we will be seeking your approval for a proposal that will seek to explore the most appropriate model or structure in which to ‘embed Social Enterprise Networks and their members at the heart of Senscot’s governance structure – representing their interests at a national level – as well as maintaining an ongoing relationship with our current individual membership’.
If this proposal gets the approval of the Annual General Meeting, we would intend holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in September 2019 – at which a more detailed proposal would be put to the membership. If this proposal is approved at the EGM, we would then seek to implement the agreed changes to our governance structure during the following months.