Covid recovery strategy pledges a fairer, more inclusive approach

Posted: 12 October 2021, in News

The Scottish Government has launched the new Covid Recovery Strategy: for a fairer future, a comprehensive plan to ‘build back better’ post-lockdown. 

The report is based on previous initiatives and consultations, notably the Social Renewal Advisory Board, including a key third sector strand that Social Enterprise Scotland took part in.

The report commits to a vision for recovery based on tackling existing inequalities and lack of opportunity that the pandemic lockdown period made worse in communities across Scotland. 

It also pledges to drive forward the practice of person-centred public services and the wellbeing economy approach.

A welcome acknowledgement in the report states: “This strategy takes the learning from the innovation and creativity which characterised the way which public services, businesses, communities and the third sector responded to the pandemic and set out a process to systematise and scale successful approaches. We must make community involvement and empowerment both in service design and delivery the norm, not the exception.”

The key part for social enterprises is the section on “Partnership with the Third Sector”. It states: “Key to the resilience of our communities has been the work of Scotland’s third sector and volunteers. Third sector organisations have led the way in adopting innovative, person centred, holistic services which wrap around families and individuals. Third sector organisations are also often working with those most marginalised including those most impacted by the pandemic.  

“It is therefore essential that we strengthen our partnership with the third sector in our approach to recovery…commitments to supporting infrastructure and key policies, including the Social Enterprise Action Plan and the Volunteering Action Plan, will ensure that we strengthen the sector’s role in supporting recovery.”

It adds: “We need strong communities, a vibrant third sector and thriving businesses working with national and local government, to drive Scotland’s longer term resilience.”

In the context of government plans for a National Care Service there is a commitment to support place-based approaches to tackle health inequalities. This includes support for anchor institutions like community-led third sector providers, to improve the health and support of those most excluded, through asset use, employment and procurement.

In terms of employment there’s a commitment, through the No One Left Behind approach with local government and the third sector, to provide £20 million over the next 12 months for employability focused interventions for long-term unemployed people.

Some of the commitments and the approach to recovery have already been pledged in the recent Programme for Government that covers the next few years – take a read of our quick summary blog. We’ll work to ensure that this all integrates together for social enterprises.

We aim to see Social Enterprise Scotland, The Scottish Government and partners across different sectors come together to finally tackle some of the persistent social and economic challenges that have blighted our communities for many years.

With a new post-lockdown approach there are certainly some real opportunities to do things differently. We believe that this can only be achieved with social enterprises and the third sector at the very heart of the recovery strategy. 

Duncan Thorp, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Social Enterprise Scotland