At a Scottish Government level, social enterprise is being placed centrally in the plans to achieve a fairer society and inclusive growth. The Social Enterprise Strategy 2016 - 2026 was launched in December 2016 and lays out a clear path for this. It has buy-in from the sector and follows two years of consultation which produced Scotland’s Vision for Scottish Enterprise 2025: Building a New Economy. The Ten Year Strategy will focus on three areas;
stimulating the sector
developing stronger organisations
realising market opportunities
The action plan that was launched in March 2017 has broken these down into 92 actions. The action plan for Angus is based on the key areas from the Scottish Government Strategy and linked to current opportunities
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 gives a clear process for unlocking assets and engaging with communities to develop a more enterprising culture, and this is especially true for the social enterprise sector. The ownership of assets and access to an increased level of participation will be a major change factor for communities and bring opportunities and challenges that can create sustainable locally controlled businesses.
As part of the Fairer Scotland Programme and the Community Empowerment Act, subsidiarity and community engagement are seen as key to the intended outcomes. Since all social enterprises are managed by a Board which is drawn from interested parties, there are higher levels of democracy as they look to be locally organised, enterprising businesses that provide direct local benefit.
The Social Enterprise Approach
Social Enterprise is a term that has become part of the third sector landscape. Social enterprises come in various legal forms from a Company Limited by Guarantee, Charities (or increasingly Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations), Community Interest Companies or Community Benefit Companies, and while they often appear to look like a private company, all social enterprises in Scotland will have an asset lock
in place. This ensures that any profit generated or capital acquired is retained for a social purpose. In essence, social enterprises are businesses that trade for common good rather than private gain or shareholder distribution: they tackle social problems, strengthen communities, improve people’s life chances and/or protect the environment as their core objectives. They are recognised through the Social Enterprise Voluntary Code of Practice.
Social enterprise has three objectives: social, economic and environmental.
Economic -Developing sustainable businesses and creating employment and work experience opportunities
Social - Meeting a social need through empowering communities and delivering efficient but socially responsible services
Environmental -Focus on the circular economy considering transport models, carbon reduction and promoting alternatives to traditional energy
Additionally, social enterprises are intentional about employing and giving opportunities to those furthest from the job market and not as an ‘add on’ community benefit.
More often than not, social enterprises arise when communities decide to do things for themselves rather than rely on the private or public sector to do it for them. Some examples of the social enterprise approach can be found in Appendix One: Case Studies.
Angus Social Economy Partnership
The Angus Social Economy Partnership (ASEP) is the lead strategic group for Social Enterprise in Angus which will report into the Angus Community Planning Partnership Board. The Partnership was formed in August 2019 following the initial work of the Social Enterprise Working Group and will be responsible and report on this Social Enterprise Action Plan (Appendix Five: Action Plan 2019-2022)
Social Enterprise Networks (SEN)
At present there are 19 local authority areas with a local SEN and all are providing a local link to national developments. Some have staff, some are independent and others are part of the local Third Sector Interface (TSI) either as a function of the TSI or as a partner. The Angus SEN has recently been created and is in the development stage. Dundee SEN is an independent organisation and an equal partner in the TSI. Perth and Kinross SEN is a network within the TSI.
The SEN’s role can be flexible to the needs of the area but can include: networking, partnerships, promotion, capacity, training, engagement.
A local Social Enterprise Network (SEN) can bring the sellers together and share the costs of any development. The buyers that are part of the public sector can then use the network to assist in the process of using community benefits and increasing the ability of the sector to make good tenders for the available work. A network can also be the link between the other customers and the intermediaries that are there to
assist. (See also Appendix Two: Role of Social Enterprise Networks)
National Support Arrangements
Scottish Government produced the three year action plan in March 2017 and work is continuing to meet the identified actions. A review of funding arrangements to support social enterprise and the networks to link with the 10 year national strategy is still ongoing.
What is the size of the sector?
The latest Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017 report was launched in September 2017. This follow up report to the Census 2015 shows a growth in the number of social enterprises and their economic impact. The 2019 Census results will be released in September 2019.
From the 2017 census the social enterprise sector is showing strong growth in many sectors. Of the £2bn GVA, 17% is generated in the community halls and centres, 14% in the arts and creative sector, 13% in childcare and 12% in health and social care. When GVA is compared as a percentage of the total economy the market share for social enterprise is 37% in health and social care and 33% in housing, with all the
other areas below 5%.
Social enterprises address inequality and the causes of poverty more directly, with 72% paying the living wage, 49% employing previously unemployed young people and 63% having a stated purpose of offering a career progression. They are working to the Fairer Scotland programme.
The research cements Scotland’s global reputation as a world-leading nation in the support and development of social enterprise.
Social Enterprise in Scotland Census 2017 The Headlines
5,600 social enterprises currently operating in Scotland (increase since 2015)
599 social enterprises formed in the last two years (increase since 2015)
34% of all social enterprises located in rural Scotland (increase since 2015)
20 years - the average age of a social enterprise in Scotland (increase since 2015)
79% of social enterprises selling direct to the general public (increase since 2015)
7% of social enterprises involved in international activity (no change since 2015)
61% of social enterprises generating at least half of their income from trading (increase since 2015)
50% negatively affected by the economic climate over the last 12 months (increase since 2015)
64% of Scotland’s social enterprises led by women (increase since 2015)
1:2.5 - the average differential between the highest and lowest paid worker (increase since 2015)
70% led by and accountable to people in a particular community (no comparison possible)
81,357 full-time equivalent employees supported by the sector (no comparison possible)
3.8bn - the total annual income of social enterprises in the country (increase since 2015)
£287m - the combined operating surplus of all social enterprises (decrease since 2015)
£5bn - the net worth of Scotland’s social enterprises (increase since 2015)
£2bn GVA - the economic contribution of social enterprises to Scotland (no comparison possible)