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Local councils need stronger links to social enterprise

Social Enterprise Scotland has published a local election manifesto with a call for social enterprise networks in ‘every corner of Scotland’.

Local areas without social enterprise networks or strategies should drive these forward, it says, and align themselves with the Scottish government’s national social enterprise strategy, set out in December 2016 for the next decade.

As local authority elections across Scotland approach in early May, Social Enterprise Scotland calls on local authorities across the country to increase their contact with social enterprise, not only as supporters and funders for the sector, but also bringing them on board as customers and within policy- and decision-making forums.

The local election manifesto for social enterprise 2017 says that barriers still exist that prevent the voice of the social enterprise sector being heard in council committees, service redesign and community and neighbourhood planning arenas.

While many local authorities purchase goods and services from social enterprises, annual procurement strategies should include a specific pledge to engage social enterprises and commit to co-produced and person-centred services, the manifesto says.

Social sector budgets should be protected and enhanced where possible, the manifesto says, with local places implementing ‘whole community’ or ‘spend to save’ approaches to social impact. It also calls for extension or publicising of business rates relief for social enterprises and the promotion and support or local social supply chains and credit unions.

Social Enterprise Scotland is a membership organisation for social enterprises in the country. It helped produce the country’s new social enterprise strategy to develop the sector over the next decade.

  • Read the local election social enterprise manifesto here.

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