Growing a strong, inclusive voice for social enterprise

Posted: 17 May 2022, in News

Relevant links

SES Business Plan 2022-2024

An open letter to the social enterprise community in Scotland

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

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.