Growing a strong, inclusive voice for social enterprise

Posted: 02 August 2022, in News

Relevant links

Transition Group Q&A

SES Business Plan 2022-2024

An open letter to the social enterprise community in Scotland


Update – 9 August

Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) became the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI) for the sector a month ago this week.

This is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made, hand-in-hand with our partners, to grow a collaborative movement and speak with a stronger voice for social enterprises the length and breadth of Scotland. We are also looking ahead to what we will be working on in the coming months.

A core priority is that members lead our work and shape what we do. Our community conversation events – held for communities all over Scotland – are a key way for us to consult, listen to and understand the views of social enterprises as we shape our service. We have held events across the country – and more are planned in the coming weeks. We would be delighted to hear from organisations and networks in any area of Scotland who would like to host one of these events. Our chief executive, Chris Martin, has really enjoyed taking part, meeting the people who deliver so much positive change in their communities and finding out more on what we need to do to support them.

We will also carry out a detailed survey of social enterprises to understand what their needs are – particularly as we adapt to the rapidly changing economic background.

The establishment of a transition group (TG) has been instrumental in steering us on our path to becoming a single, strong voice for social enterprise in Scotland, and ensuring the process is smooth. This is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made, hand-in-hand with our partners, to grow a collaborative movement and speak with a stronger voice for social enterprises the length and breadth of Scotland. We are also looking ahead to what we will be working on in the coming months.

We have also welcomed new staff to SES, who are all playing their part in making sure we are representing and supporting our members.

Kim Wallace joined us from SENScot as our Director of Membership. She was joined by Jayne Chappell, our Membership Manager and Janice Nicol, our Business and Enterprise Manager. Georgie Price became our new Policy Officer to help influence and campaign on issues that are important to our members. We look forward to welcoming a new marketing and communications manager this month, and will introduce them here.

One of our key remits is to advocate for the entire movement. We highlighted the barriers facing Community Interest Companies (CICs) in The Scotsman Newspaper here. Engaging with politicians is also important. We attended a special joint meeting of five Scottish Parliament Cross Party Groups (CPGs) on Social Enterprise, Co-operatives, Fair Trade, Credit Unions and the Wellbeing Economy. Community Wealth Building is a people-led approach to local regeneration. Looking ahead, we will take forward the work of the Social Enterprise Cross Party Group in The Scottish Parliament, and launch new policy and support tools to support our members. We are exploring how we will determine priorities for our programme of research and look forward to seeing how the forthcoming Social Enterprise Census data can help shape it.

Before our new role began on 1 July, we held constructive and collaborative meetings with SENScot to work together to establish the new SEI. The work SENScot has done to build the social enterprise community is valued widely, and they built a strong foundation for the new SEI to take forward. We are grateful that we have been able to draw on their support. Social Enterprises have never been more important. We face considerable social challenges, from the rising cost of living to climate change. As we support and champion the work done by social enterprises in every corner of Scotland, we would like to take the opportunity to thank the wider sector, the Scottish Government, members of the transition group and our own staff team for their contributions and support.

Update – 2 August

The Transition Group (TG) had its second all day meeting on Friday 29th July in Glasgow.

The TG discussed position papers on ‘Values, Roles and Ethos’ for the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI), the current landscape/eco-system of support for social enterprise and membership.  The discussion on the papers also stimulated thoughts about governance, functions and services, along with ideas on critical strategic partnerships and relationships.

The TG agreed that values and behaviours are at the heart of the SEI. The discussion noted that both SES and SENScot shared key values:

  • Trust;
  • Democracy;
  • Partnership and collaboration;
  • Consultation and listening;
  • Diversity;
  • Inclusion;
  • Innovation;
  • Quality;
  • Agility.

The TG emphasised the need for the SEI to have a strong ‘value proposition’ it can offer to social enterprises (and proportionate fee structure) with a clear core offer.  There was a recognition that if social enterprise is to be a broad church, based around the voluntary code, then the SEI will need to reflect this in any governance structure.

There was also a recognition that services and functions must be rooted in the needs of social enterprises and there will be surveys to identify these needs between now and October.  Given the uncertainty of the economic environment which is changing rapidly, this landscape will evolve and will require careful attention to make sure the offer from the SEI is aligned to the needs of enterprises and economic circumstances and is complementary to other services being offered by other players.

Once the minutes of the meeting have been agreed, all papers will be available.  The TG is happy to receive suggestions and comments and has a dedicated email address contactTG@socialenterprise.scot.

The next meeting will be on 19thAugust in Edinburgh.


Update – 26 July

Shared Prosperity – what does it mean?

As a society, we face some of the most pressing challenges in a generation – from the cost of living crisis, to the impact of climate change.  But while the issues are difficult, at Social Enterprise Scotland we have seen first-hand how social enterprises are providing solutions that are already making a huge difference.

And with the new Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI), we have a lot of potential to build on what has come before and start new projects and ensure we are truly member-led.  Some key strands of our work to support and champion the sector in the coming months will be taking forward the work of our Cross Party Group policy forum in The Scottish Parliament, relaunching the thematic Social Enterprise Networks and launching a range of other exciting policy and support tools.  The Transition Group will meet again this Friday, 29th July to discuss the values and ethos that should underpin the SEI and inform its service delivery.

Social enterprises exist for social and environmental impact, often empowering excluded people and communities.  They operate across a number of sectors including housing, regeneration, social care, food and beverage and a huge range of other parts of the economy.  However, they are also part of a much bigger picture, being a crucial tool in building a new type of inclusive, sustainable, wellbeing economy.

Their transformative role in this wider context should not be underestimated.  We also need to consider, in an era where some private businesses are looking at their business purpose, how we lead the agenda for a new economy.

When it comes to the economy, for example, social enterprises make a huge contribution. They generate more than £2.3 billion for Scotland’s economy, and supporting more than 88,000 jobs.

But we want to move beyond old measures like GDP and top-down regeneration.  The wellbeing economy approach and tools such as Community Wealth Building (CWB), means we can build a more practical and sustainable approach to our economy and society.  The CWB approach combines a number of broad characteristics. This includes more democratic, shared ownership of the economy, with support for the development of SMEs, social enterprises, employee ownership, cooperatives, municipal activity and community enterprises. 

In addition, some of our key policy priorities and future direction of travel include assisting social enterprises on the road to net zero, community ownership and land reform, public service delivery, equalities and inclusion, rural and remote social enterprises, the role of health and social care enterprises and a range of other areas that are top priorities for Scotland’s diverse social enterprise community.

It is clear that whatever challenges we face, social enterprises are a key part of the solution. They are already changing the world for the better with by investing in and empowering local communities and developing creative answers to the challenges we face.


Update – 19 July

As we develop the organisation to become a stronger, more powerful voice for social enterprises in Scotland, we are engaging with the entire sector. We have been holding a series of Community Conversations aimed at listening to people across Scotland, including grassroots social enterprises. These allow us to glean valuable insights and intelligence from local areas, to ensure we continue building consensus and an inclusive approach going forward.  

So far, successful events have been held for Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Forth Valley, South Ayrshire with diarised plans to hear from colleagues in the Scottish Borders and Perth and Kinross.  Additionally, we are in the process of rearranging a Community Conversation for the Western Isles, and we plan to run events in each of the remaining local authority areas in the coming months. 

At each event, Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) CEO, Chris Martin has been updating local social enterprises and other interested parties on the transition process, while listening to the contextualised views of local, geographic networks including Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) and Social Enterprise NetworkS (SENS).  

We would like to hear from anyone who wants to host a Community Conversation to discuss their specific needs, priorities or local area. Those interested should contact Jayne.Chappell@socialenterprise.scot in the first instance.  

The events are being held as we continue our evolution to become the single, collective voice for social enterprises in Scotland. SES was previously chosen by the Scottish Government for the role of Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI), which we are committed to delivering in partnership with the sector.  

A Transition Group (TG) was established to oversee a seamless transition process.  The TG, chaired by Ian Welsh OBE, is preparing to hold its second meeting on Friday, July 29. After each meeting, regular updates will be shared and we expect to continue to share details of what was discussed and agreed.  

There are opportunities to meet independently with Mr Welsh – either virtually or in-person – to discuss the work of the TG. To inquire about this, please contact jenny.smith@socialenterprise.scot.


Update – 12 July 

Last week members of the Transition Group (TG) held their first meeting as Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) began its evolution to become the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI) for the sector.  

The TG is responsible for overseeing this process and ensuring a seamless process of transition as we seek to grow our collaborative movement, build consensus, and become the single collective voice for social enterprises in Scotland. 

Five further meetings are planned between now and the end of October, and the TG will report back with recommendations in the autumn.  

We are developing a Q&A here to answer questions you may have about the group and its role. Please send any suggested questions to contactTG@socialenterprise.scot.  


Update – 4 July

The Transition Group (TG) held its first meeting at the Edinburgh Storytelling Centre on 4th July. Ian Welsh, Chair of the TG, outlined the Terms of Reference and members introduced themselves.  Most members were there in an individual capacity, however some were representatives of networks.

The group heard a presentation which outlined:

  • The timetable (6 meetings up to the 24th October);
    • Meetings will take place in different locations
  • The key issues the TG would be dealing with;
    • Membership and defining social enterprise;
    • Future governance of the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI);
    • The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland;
    • Functions and services to be provided by the new intermediary;
    • Strategic partnerships;
  • Background material (including the current SES Business Plan 2022-2025) and
  • Planned research/surveys to inform future discussions.

The discussions which followed were very constructive and focussed on:

  • The need to articulate more clearly the role for the new intermediary:
  • Who is the SEI for?
    • Is it a trade body?
    • Is it a lobbying organisation?
    • Is it about accessing funds for social enterprises?
    • Should it deliver direct services to social enterprises?
    • Is it about building a social enterprise movement?
  • The need for the intermediary to show leadership in the current climate;
  • Articulating the ethos, values, culture and in particular the behaviours of the SEI;
  • What is the SEI seeking to enable?
  • How should the SEI engage with the Scottish Government (and demonstrate its independence)?
  • How should the SEI be held to account (by members, stakeholders, government) for its actions and performance?

The TG wants to find a common view where possible and wants to consult during the process.Minutes from future meetings and agreed actions will be posted by Social Enterprise Scotland on a dedicated website for the group.


Update – 28 June

Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) will this week become the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI) for the sector. This will grow our collaborative movement and ensure we collectively speak with a stronger voice. Our role will be to represent and advocate for the sector, and to act as the voice of social enterprises across Scotland. 

As you will be aware, SES was chosen by the Scottish Government for the role of SEI following an open and transparent selection. We are excited that the SEI will go live on Friday, July 1, and we believe we are ready to hit the ground running to begin delivering this.  

A Transition Group (TG), chaired by Ian Welsh OBE, has been tasked with overseeing the evolution to a SEI and the work of this group is well underway. Members will hold their first meeting in Edinburgh on Monday, July 4, with five further dates planned, across the country, throughout the summer into September and October. SES established the TG to ensure a seamless process of transition as part of its commitment to deliver this in partnership with the entire sector. The group has a six-month remit to report back with recommendations, which will be published in full.   

We are also pleased to welcome members of the SENScot team over the course of the next month. 

Kim Wallace will join us from SENScot as our Director of Membership. She will have specific remits for developing and refining our best possible membership officer. She will be joined by Jayne Chappell, who will take up the post of Membership Manager and Janice Nicol who will become our Business and Enterprise Manager. Georgie Price will become our new Policy Officer to help influence and campaign on issues that are important to our members. All four are expected to join us in the coming weeks and we are excited to see how the new team will impact the sector and the communities we serve.   

The SES board has said the SEI will create a “growing a collaborative movement” that will ultimately give all social enterprises a collective and stronger voice. Through the transition process, we want to get out and listen to communities across Scotland to understand how we can better serve and support the work you are doing locally. We fully recognise the importance of the existing local, geographic networks including SENs and Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) to grassroots and local social enterprises, which is why we are already engaging positively with the networks. As part of the commitment to grow Scotland’s social enterprise movement, we have launched a programme of Community Conversations across the country, and we plan to visit all 32 local authority areas in the coming months.  


Update – 21 June

According to the most recent census in 2019, there are more than 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland – and early data insights ahead of the publication of the 2022 census show an increase, despite the impact of the pandemic. 
As we look forward to becoming the ‘Single Enhanced Intermediary’ from 1 July, it will be our job to grow a strong, inclusive voice for all social enterprises. That’s why we are engaging with grassroots social enterprises, rural groups, social firms and community-led work in deprived urban communities to ensure that they are all supported.  We are advocates for the entire movement.  For example, you can read about how we highlighted the barriers facing Community Interest Companies (CICs) in The Scotsman Newspaper here: https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/barriers-potentially-stifling-development-of-community-interest-companies-duncan-thorp-3732891
Furthermore, This week we’ll be at a special joint meeting of five Scottish Parliament Cross Party Groups (CPGs) on Social Enterprise, Co-operatives, Fair Trade, Credit Unions and the Wellbeing Economy.  Community Wealth Building is a people-led approach to local regeneration.  We’ll be exploring how we can work in partnership, breaking down barriers across sectors and industries, to really build community wealth.
The meeting takes place on Wednesday, 22 June, from 6.30pm to 8pm.  Find out more and book your free places here: https://members.socialenterprise.scot/events/626ff648d6f5590007b7a86b/description


Update – 14 June

The work of the Transition Group (TG) is well underway and progressing with members due to meet for the first time next month. 

The group, chaired by Ian Welsh OBE, has been tasked with overseeing the evolution to a Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI). 

Members were appointed after Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) was chosen by the Scottish Government to deliver the SEI for Scotland from 1 July.  

A date for the TG’s first meeting has been set for 4 July. This will take place in Edinburgh. 

As part of its commitment to deliver this in partnership with the entire sector – including grassroots social enterprises – SES established the TG to ensure a seamless process of transition. 

The group has a six-month remit to report back with recommendations, which will be published in full.  

The SES board has said the SEI will create a “growing collaborative movement” that will ultimately give all social enterprises a collective and stronger voice.  

Meanwhile, the first in a national series of ‘community conversations’ on the future of social enterprises got underway this week.  

An online event took place for interested parties in the Western Isles, and over the coming months they will cover all 32 local authority areas to help gain valuable insights and intelligence.  

At each event, SES chief executive Chris Martin will provide an update on the transition process, and listen to the views of local, geographic networks including Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs). 

He said: “Through the transition process, we want to get out and listen to communities across Scotland to understand how we can best serve and support the work they are doing locally. 

“The feedback about the new SEI has been very encouraging and we look forward to hearing more ideas and innovations. 

“It is important to us that we listen to people in every part of Scotland so that we can build a broad consensus. 

“This is an incredibly exciting time for our sector as we deliver a new inclusive model that will put social enterprises at the heart of Scotland’s future.” 

We are also delighted to announce that we will soon welcome new colleagues into the team.  

Kim Wallace will join us from SENScot as our Director of Membership. She will have specific remits for developing and refining our best possible membership offer.   

She will be joined by Jayne Chappell, who will take up the post of Membership Manager.  

Georgie Price will become our new Policy Officer to help influence and campaign on issues that are important to our members.   

All three are expected to join us in the coming weeks and we are excited to see how the new team will impact the sector and the communities we serve.  


Update – 7 June

As part of our commitment to grow Scotland’s social enterprise movement, we are excited to be launching a programme of Community Conversations across the country. These conversations will get underway next week in Stornoway and the Isle of Harris, and we will visit all 32 local authority areas in the coming months.

As you are aware, Social Enterprise Scotland has been chosen to be the ‘Single Enhanced Intermediary’ (SEI) for our sector, ensuring we collectively speak with a stronger voice.

Through the transition process, we want to get out and listen to communities across Scotland to understand how we can better serve and support the work you are doing locally.

We fully recognise the importance of the existing local, geographic networks including SENs and Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) to grassroots and local social enterprises, which is why we are already engaging positively with the networks. 

The feedback about the new SEI has been very encouraging and we look forward to hearing from local communities as we build an even more positive future for social enterprises.

More information on next week’s events can be found here – https://members.socialenterprise.scot/events – and please keep an eye on our website for community conversation events in other parts of Scotland.


Update – 31 May

The important work of the Transition Group (TG) is now underway as we prepare for the formal launch of a ‘Single Enhanced Intermediary’ to represent social enterprises in just over a month’s time. Independent Chair of the TG, Professor Ian Welsh OBE, has started the process of scoping out the necessary work with colleagues, reading background papers and understanding the current context of policy and practice. He has taken the opportunity to meet with the majority of TG members on an individual basis and to take the temperature of the sector, and hopes to conclude these meetings this week.

“These meetings and soundings have confirmed the strength of purpose in the sector, the ethical and moral purpose of those working within it and the desire to build a single enhanced intermediary with an inclusive culture, working in partnership with stakeholders including government,” said Professor Welsh.

“There is a recognition from all sides that we can build on the strengths of a highly regarded community-based movement, the range of existing capacity-building activity and business supports in place and the international profile we’ve generated, to catalyse a new way forward.

“We need now to make progress, build trust, a representative spirit and harness the huge reach of the sector in the interest of social-added value for people, places and communities.”

Working with colleagues, Professor Welsh will begin scheduling TG meetings this week.  Meanwhile, the Social Enterprise Scotland team is developing a programme of Community Conversations to get out and listen to local communities across Scotland to better understand how we can better serve and support the work that social enterprises are doing locally. We’ll have more details to announce on this in the coming days.

Thank you to everyone who is working hard on the transition and engaging with us as we prepare for the exciting times ahead for our sector. 


Update – 24 May

We’re delighted to announce the membership of the Transition Group (TG) tasked with overseeing the evolution to deliver a Single Enhanced Intermediary. SES is growing a strong, inclusive voice for social enterprise after being chosen by The Scottish Government to deliver the new ‘Single Enhanced Intermediary’ (SEI) for Scotland from July 1. As part of its commitment to deliver this in partnership with the entire sector, including grassroots social enterprises, SES is establishing the TG to ensure a seamless process.

As we announced last week the group will be chaired by Ian Welsh OBE who many of you will know was Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, the third sector strategic intermediary for health and social care organisations for 12 years. Social Enterprise Scotland has nominated Irene Mosota to the group. Irene is the Founding Director of I’mPerfect Foods, a social enterprise whose mission is to reduce waste innovatively and responsibly in the food supply chain. Irene has several years’ experience in a variety of social projects, conflict resolution and negotiation. She has a strong background in community and cross-boundary leadership. SENScot will be represented by John Halliday. John is CEO of the social enterprise Community Renewal Trust and Chair/co- founder of Caledonia Funeral Aid CIC. His campaigning work focuses on changing systems for commissioning and delivery at a neighbourhood level as part of rethinking approaches to ending persistent poverty and inequity.

Further members include:

Ailsa Clark is founder of Inspiralba, a social enterprise which delivers employability and learning activities for young people and those facing barriers to work, seeing first-hand the impact of Covid lockdowns as well as increasing poverty levels for those most vulnerable in our communities.

James Hilder has worked numerous community asset transfers, renewables projects, community benefit funds, community shops, land acquisitions and has established a wide range of social enterprises over the last 23 years using many different legal structures.

Angus Hardie is currently Director of Scottish Community Alliance, a group of national community sector networks which has been formed to advance the community agenda in Scotland.

Yvonne Strachan CBE has a range of experience in the third and public sectors and has a particular interest in equality and social enterprise. She is currently Chair of the Social Enterprise Academy Board and was formerly a Deputy Director in the Scottish Government with responsibility for equality, human rights and the third sector. In this role she worked to support the strengthening of social enterprise in
Scotland.

Martin Avila is Group CEO at Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS.) CEIS is the UK’s oldest and largest social enterprise business support agency. Its mission is to develop a more inclusive economy in order to reduce inequality and make Scotland a better place to live and work. Martin moved to CEIS in August 2021 from Kinning Park Complex where he was previously the Director.

Polly Chapman is the CEO and co-founder of Impact Hub Inverness, a co-working space run by HISEZ CIC that is part of an international network. She is also an accredited coach and has onboarded 10 new teams for Impact Hub Global.

The placed-based Social Enterprise Networks and Third Sector Interfaces came together to nominate two individuals to represent them on the group. We look forward to working with Claire Patullo and Jennifer Robertson. Claire, as many will know is Chief Executive at Edinburgh Social Enterprise having previously worked in two local authorities, leading multi-disciplinary teams and partnerships to address barriers experienced by some of the most disadvantaged communities in Scotland. Jennifer is Director of Glasgow Social Enterprise Network. Jennifer was previously the Social Enterprise Officer for the three TSI’s which form the Forth Valley SEN. Jennifer is a practitioner and has founded several social enterprises and is on the Board of a care centre.

The group has a six-month remit to report back with recommendations – which will be published in full. SES is engaging with existing local, placed-based networks including SENs and Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs), with very positive feedback. In a new statement, the SES board said it is “growing a collaborative movement so that all social enterprises have a stronger voice”.


Update – 17th May

We are delighted to announce that significant progress has been made on our transition to the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI) for social enterprises in Scotland.  We have now issued invitations to join the Transition Group (TG) which will ensure a seamless process and oversee the work required to meet the needs of the growing and thriving social enterprise movement. We are proud to be creating a relationship of trust and confidence, with full transparency and flexibility, as we prepare for the continuity of current services and implementation of the Single Enhanced Intermediary on 1 July 2022.

The role of the TG is to ensure that future policies and activities reflect the needs of the wider sector.  The group will have a strong breadth of representation from across the movement and all parts of Scotland.  We want the membership to fully reflect grassroots social enterprises, stakeholders, the Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) and other knowledgeable experts. The group will have an independent Chair, a Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) board member, and a further six to eight members, with a six-month remit to report back to the SES board with recommendations as reflected within the attached Terms of Reference.

We’re really pleased that Professor Ian Welsh OBE will be the Chair of the Transition Group. Ian was Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, the third sector strategic intermediary for health and social care organisations for 12 years. He recently stepped down from that role but continues to offer advice and support to the ALLIANCE leadership team. He has extensive experience in the public, private and third sectors.

Thank you to everyone who has positively engaged with the establishment of the TG.  The work to date has been informed by the results of the survey we issued in April, and we are grateful to everyone who took part in that.  The dedicated team at SES has put a huge amount of time and effort into this exciting transition, and we offer our sincerest thanks for their hard work, positivity, and determination. 

We also fully recognise the importance of the existing local, geographic networks including SENs and Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) to grassroots and local social enterprises, and our CEO Chris Martin is already engaging positively with the networks.  The feedback about the new SEI has been very encouraging.  Chris will continue to travel the length and breadth of Scotland in the coming weeks to meet with everyone engaged in the new SEI.

The imminent launch of the TG will bring a collective view on how to maximise the support for social enterprises in the long-term, so that our full potential as the SEI is realised.  It is the role of the SES board to consider all Transition Group recommendations, in accordance with our existing governing documents and membership.  We give a firm commitment that the recommendations will be shared transparently with the full membership for consideration.

We also acknowledge the inspiring work that SENScot has contributed to over the years, and we are committed to democratising the voice of social enterprises in Scotland to ensure all have an equal voice. Our apologies to the SENScot Board, in the first announcement, the SES Board misinterpreted the situation, and for the avoidance of doubt, John Halliday is attending the Transition Group on behalf of the SENScot Board. We look forward to working with John. The SES Board will be represented by Irene Mosota. We will announce other members of the Transition Group in due course.

We are growing a collaborative movement so that all social enterprises have a stronger voice.  This is an incredibly exciting time for our sector as we progress the transition and successfully deliver a new inclusive model that will put social enterprises at the heart of Scotland’s future.


Update – 10th May

We are making progress on the formation of the Transition Group (TG).  Regular readers will be aware that we set out to co-create a Transition Group with the role of making advisory recommendations to the Social Enterprise Scotland Board about some of the more strategic aspects of the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI).  The TG will meet over a period of six months to deliberate and bring conclusions on important aspects of the SEI, such as governance of the SEI in the future, how membership of the SEI will be established and how its work will be shaped by The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland.  The membership of the Group will have a strong breadth of representation from across the movement and all parts of Scotland.  It has been informed by the results of the survey we issued in April; thank you to everyone who completed that.  We will make an announcement of the Independent Chair and membership of the wider group shortly. 

Concurrently, we have  been working with partners across the sector to ensure continuity of service provision for the social enterprises who engage in the Thematic SENs.  In addition, we recognise the importance of the existing local, geographic networks (SENs and TSIs) to grassroots and local social enterprises and our CEO will be engaging with the networks to listen and understand the main issues in each area and coproduce what that support should look like locally.  Thank you to everyone who got in touch to offer to help shape the new SEI, we will be in touch and commit to ensure everyone has their voices heard.


Update – 3rd May

Welcome back to our weekly blog about our transition to a Single Enhanced Intermediary. Positive work continues to design and commission a Transition Group to oversee the work we need to do together to evolve Social Enterprise Scotland into the SEI that meets the needs of the growing and thriving movement in Scotland. We are excited about the prospects of the Transition Group being able to bring a collective view on a range of important matters to us. In advance of the work on that beginning and throughout the transition period, we want to listen to as many people as possible to help shape the offer that SES will be able to make going forward. We are very clear that our vision is to serve the sector in a way that embraces and acknowledges the breadth that exists.  We specifically celebrate the significant infrastructure that is the local SENs, which are a vital part of our social enterprise movement and offer essential support and voice at a local level. We have opportunities to meet SENs in the coming weeks and want to be clear about our commitment to continue to offer them a level of support that meets their needs. We want to make an immediate offer of support in the phase after 1 July 2022 and continue to engage in a conversation about what “ good” looks like for the support that SENs need from their national body recognising the evolving context in which we work. We look forward to listening and engaging.


Update – 26th April

We are continuing to appreciate the positive dialogue with SENScot about the pivotal role that will be played by the Transition Group in creating the right space to guide the evolution of the new single intermediary.

The Terms of Reference will be published next week, and we are actively looking for someone with the right skills to become our independent Chair, bringing out the very best of those that are gathered, and keeping us focused on the prize of a voice that can truly represent the many and diverse voices.

We are grateful to those of you who completed the recent survey, and we had a strong response given the short timescale, the results will genuinely be used to shape both the membership of the group, as well as the how it engages, and who it engages with to reach the multitude of voices, particularly those that are sometimes not heard.

Our Chief Executive met the SENScot staff this morning in what we hope will be the first of many conversations. We talked vision, we talked process, but most importantly, we talked about how, together we capture the significant legacy, and insights that are available to us in shaping next steps.

Staff had some interesting ideas and the commitment to collaborate and celebrate all that has been achieved was shared. More news next week as things begin to take shape.


Update – 19th April

Our regular readers will understand that we have committed to share a weekly update as we build toward launching an enhanced single intermediary on the 1st July.  Given the holiday period there is not a great deal to update however, in terms of full transparency, we wanted to share our ongoing work.

We continue to work constructively with the Board of SENScot to explore opportunities for their staff within the organisation; we recognise the skills and experience within the team and we continue to refine our business plan to ensure we don’t lose, unintentionally, any existing support services within the transition.

We are still looking to develop the structure of the Transition Group (TG) and in support of this we are sending out a short survey to the movement to ask for everyone’s views on the voices that are really important in shaping our approach to the transition group.  We are keen to get the balance right between proportionately reflecting the sector and ensuring we are being truly representative and inclusive in our work. We recognise that the TG alone cannot be the sole vehicle to engagement and we welcome ideas and want to be innovative in how we engage in the coming months and years. We expect this to be part of our DNA going forward and with this in mind, we are also looking at how our own Social Enterprise Scotland Board can grow to reflect our membership, the broader movement and the changes and opportunities that will inevitably arise over the next two years.  The TG will be valuable in supporting this as part of their remit.

Finally, our CEO had a well-deserved break with family but is back after the Easter holidays and keen to embark on the Roadshows and other events and activities to get a fuller understanding of how the new intermediary can support the breadth of the sector. If you want to host an event in partnership with Social Enterprise Scotland please get in touch with the team at Kate.Walshaw@socialenterprise.scot


Update – 12th April

This is the fourth weekly update for our members ahead of launching the Single Enhanced Intermediary (SEI) on 1st July.

We have held constructive discussions with the Board of SENScot to continue to explore opportunities for their staff within the SEI.  We are aiming to be in a position to share these with the team within the coming weeks and this is one of our key objectives at this early stage.

We have also continued to hold discussions with SENScot on establishing the Transition Group (TG) which will support the development of the SEI, and be in place to the end of September. These discussions are positive and constructive and our meeting on 26th April has the aim to agree the membership of the TG and confirm it’s remit and Terms of Reference.

In support of this we are sending out a short survey to the movement to ask for everyone’s views on the types of social enterprises and intermediaries who should be considered for membership of the TG, in addition to SES, SENScot and the SENS themselves.  The results will feed into the discussions on the 26th April.

This is separate from the survey we will be commissioning Community Enterprise to carry out within the movement about what social enterprises want from the SEI. We will disseminate these findings and hold participatory roadshows which will allow for direct feedback.

The SES Board met last week with a session on the “transition process” with our staff and team.  This gave everyone the opportunity to feed into the planning around this.

Outside of the membership of the TG, we are also looking at how the SES Board can be developed to reflect our membership, the broader movement and the changes and opportunities that will inevitably arise over the next two years.  The TG will be valuable in supporting this as part of their remit.


Update – 5th April

We are continuing to explore the redeploying of staff from Senscot and are taking additional advice on TUPE and its potential implications if it applies to a grant process. For the sake of both certainty and continuity, this is a priority.

We are working with SENScot to establish a six month Transition Group (TG). This will potentially have an independent Chair and 8 members, drawn from SES and SENScot and we will seek the voices of the wider sector. Sophy Green continues to represent SENScot, but former SENScot co-chair John McManus has stood down from their Board and will be replaced by Sean Connor. We wish John all the best in the future. Final details and membership of the TG will be clarified once the Terms of Reference is agreed. The TG will look at medium and longer term issues such as future governance, engagement, criteria for membership and the voluntary code of practice before making recommendations to the SES Board.

We are planning further meetings with SENScot on 6th/7th April and 26th April to take these issues forward.

In support of the TG remit, we will be commissioning Community Enterprise to carry out a survey within the movement about what social enterprises want from the single intermediary and holding a number of roadshows across Scotland.

A number of SENs have already responded positively and we look forward to strengthening and deepening our relationship with them, other intermediaries in the sector and TSIs.


Update – 29th March

We promised to update our members weekly ahead of launching the single enhanced intermediary on the 1st July.  We are working with partners delivering two concurrent work streams.  The first will look, with SENScot, at the potential redeployment of their staff, as soon as possible, to provide job security to the team and continuity of service for the social enterprises who engage with both organisations.  The other work stream will be a short-life working group, the Transition Group, with a number of partners.  This will make recommendations to the SES Board about the transition to the Single Enhanced Intermediary.  Part of the work of the Transition Group will be to commission a consultation to understand what Scottish social enterprises, and their support agencies, want from their national body.

We have published the Business Plan we submitted to Scottish Government with our application to serve the social enterprise sector as the single enhanced intermediary.  We acknowledge that the plan will continue to evolve and be informed by our members and partners and to that end we would like to put on a series of roadshows, ideally hosted where there is a Social Enterprise Network.  We will be visiting communities throughout Scotland over the next 3 months to listen and consult on local needs.   We were delighted to see Edinburgh and Glasgow’s SEN’s positive response to our Open Letter and look forward to visiting both networks.  Additionally with the number of other SENS responding to us, positively, we anticipate engaging with many social enterprises in the next 90 days.  Where there isn’t a SEN we will work closely with the TSI to deliver an event that allows social enterprises to have their voices heard.


Update – 22nd March

Social Enterprise Scotland recognises the responsibility that the opportunity to deliver the single enhanced intermediary (SEI) brings.  It is important to share that we are committed to deliver this in partnership with Scotland’s social enterprises and their support agencies, and to consult with them on what we do and how we do it.

We acknowledge the work SENScot has also done to build the social enterprise community and want to enhance it.  We will start to formally deliver this programme from 1st July 2022 but will be progressing consultations from now onwards and making internal and external changes over the next 3 – 6 months.

Our key priorities are:

  • Consulting, listening and understanding the views of social enterprises to enable us to shape current and future service provision
  • Changing our governance structure so we are more representative of social enterprises as a movement and demonstrate our independence
  • Growing markets (public and private) for social enterprises and supporting social enterprises to access those markets.
  • Providing high quality research to make the case for social enterprise.
  • Contributing, and helping social enterprises achieve Net Zero targets.
  • Ensuring that Social Enterprise Scotland is financially sustainable in the medium/long term.

We want to move as quickly as possible on these, whilst recognising that some will have a longer timescale.  This is your process and we need your views and we commit to use this weekly bulletin to update you on progress and to invite your views on what we can do differently or do better.