The Christie Commission and How It Could Affect Your Social Enterprise

Posted: 18 January 2011, in Blog

18 Jan 2011

Not much time left if you want to submit your views on this potentially scene setting exercise for the future of Scottish public services. However, like many reports of its ilk it may be left to gather dust if it frightens our politicians, trade unionists and senior figures in Scottish public life too much. That is why the frame of reference is so important. What is left out is just as important as what is included. This is a SWOT and PEST analysis of the current and future provision of public services that seeks to inform productive and providential recommendations. Your views need to be heard.

Go to this link and have a gander If your social enterprise is reliant on delivering public services via SLAs and other contract and funding relationships, now is the time to get your tuppence worth in.

It is unsurprising that in the document outlining the Commission’s remit, the terms “enterprise”, “entrepreneur”, “profit” and “market” are absent. There is a specific item relating to the relationship or partnership with the third sector and the “Call for Evidence” doc goes further in asking for thoughts regarding the relationship between public, third sector and private sector delivery.

So, what should Scottish social entrepreneurs do?

I’d ask Commissioners to define what they mean by “the public service ethos” as they seem very keen to preserve and support it.

I’d ask them if paying bonuses to senior public sector managers is part of the public service ethos they wish to protect.

I’d ask Commissioners for their opinion on local authorities and other public bodies using charitable and social enterprise legal entities/structures to camouflage their activities as somehow no longer part of the public sector.

I’d also ask them to attend an SSEC forum to specifically consider the ethos of social entrepreneurship; the nature of double, triple and quadruple bottom lines and to outline their views on the concept of profit making in relation to public service delivery. I’d want them to publicly explain what they understand to be the meanings of “not for profit” and “more than profit”.

Finally, I’d recommend that every social entrepreneur in Scotland look at the make up of the Commission Board and ask themselves one question – “Who on that Board understands my business and can they articulate and represent my views about the future of Scottish public services and the role of social enterprises in service delivery”?