September 23, 2009
Will our sector’s voice be heard?
We are told by Government that the community sector’s relationship with local councils and Community Planning will be defined by a document called a Single Outcome Agreement. In addition, the Govt has said that it will fund one organisation locally– the single interface - whose job it will be to make sure our sector’s voice is being heard. We are currently trawling through every SOA to check whether our sector is even mentioned. A recent search for mention of social enterprise doesn’t give much cause for optimism
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND SINGLE OUTCOME AGREEMENTS
Introduction and summary
1. Senscot and the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition commissioned the Pool – DTA Scotland’s consultancy service – to review the Single Outcome Agreements for 2008 and 2009 to assess how far social enterprise was reflected in them. A SOA is the means by which Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) agree their strategic priorities for their local area and express those priorities as outcomes to be delivered by the partners, either individually or jointly. Overall, 21 of the SOA’s in 2009 had no or very limited references to social enterprise. SOA’s for rural areas tend to have stronger references to social enterprise than urban ones.
Single Outcome Agreements: Purpose and Importance
2. The Concordat between the Scottish Government and COSLA agreed in November 2007 set out the terms of a new relationship between the Scottish Government and local government. It underpins the funding provided to local government over the period from 2008-09 to 2010-2011.
3. A central element of the new relationship was the ending of ring fencing of local government funding and the creation of a Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) between each council, initially, and the Scottish Government, based on the 15 National Outcomes. All SOAs from 2009-10 onward will be between each Community Planning Partnership (CPP) and the Scottish Government. A SOA is the means by which CPPs agree their strategic priorities for their local area and express those priorities as outcomes to be delivered by the partners, either individually or jointly, while showing how those outcomes should contribute to the Scottish Government’s relevant National Outcomes.
4. As such, the content of SOA’s are an important indication of the extent to which the support and development of social enterprises is seen as a priority to local authorities and CPP’s. Consequently, Senscot and the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC) decided to commission a review of SOA’s to see to what extent and how social enterprise features in them.
Methodology of the review
5. All the SOA’s produced in 2008 and 2009 were reviewed to identify references to social enterprise (or failing any reference to social enterprise to community enterprise or the social economy) in the 2008 and 2009 documents. The main information fields in which substantive references will be found in the documents are in the context of the area (i.e. the characteristics and issues facing the area), local outcomes, local indicators and actions required by either local partners or other agencies. References across all four fields would represent the strongest inclusion of social enterprise in SOA’s and no references will be the weakest.
6. The key findings are:
• Only one SOA in 2009 had references to social enterprise in all 4 information fields – context, local outcomes, local indicators and actions – compared to 2 in 2008.
• 12 SOA’s in 2009 had no references to social enterprise in any of the four fields and 9 had only one reference ( compared to 10 and 10 in 2008)
• the references in the 2009 SOA’s were 12 in context (10 in 2008) ,10 in local outcomes (7 in 2008), 11 in local indicators (12 in 2008) and 6 in actions (14 in 2008)
• The changes between 2008 SOA’s and 2009 SOA’s are not highly significant overall given that the 2009 SOA’s were prepared in a different way.
• Overall, it appears that SOA’s for rural areas –especially those in the Highlands and Islands – are more likely to contain references to social enterprise compared to those in urban areas.
7. Overall, social enterprise is not strongly represented in the SOA’s. The strongest representation is in SOA’s for rural areas, the weakest in urban areas. There have been no overall significant changes overall between 2008 and 2009.