Equal theme
Get involved
Valid XHTML 1.1

Strengthening the Scottish Social Economy

Partnership information



The aim of the Strengthening the Social Economy in Scotland DP was to improve the social economy in the three thematic areas of Funding and Finance, E-business, and Careers and Leadership.


The objectives of the DP were to:
  • Set up a framework to foster developing an ‘entrepreneurial and enterprise’ culture within the social economy sector.

  • Provide the capacity for growth and sustainability, leading to improvements in job quality in the sector.

  • Significantly strengthen the cohesion, visibility and credibility of the social economy.

  • Promote networking and collaboration between social economy organisations across Scotland to grow social economy activity.
Three Scotland-wide thematic pilots and four social economy zones were developed to test new ways of combating all forms of inequalities in the labour market. The social economy zones were:
  • West Dunbartonshire;
  • Lanarkshire;
  • Highlands and Islands; and
  • South of Scotland (Twin track of Roxburgh and Dumfries and Galloway)
Target beneficiary groups

The SEZ’s brought together local stakeholders in the social economy, including local social enterprises, Communities Scotland local representatives, local enterprise companies, Council for Voluntary Services, Local Authorities, housing groups and health trusts. These then drew up Local Action Plans to work together to strengthen the social economy.

Main outcomes

The proposed outcomes of the programme were “increased confidence and competence within the sector; greater understanding and breaking down of barriers within procuring agencies; and ultimately a more entrepreneurial and sustainable social economy”. This was achieved by holding events, sounding boards, training programmes and other means of sharing and disseminating best practice..

The steering group remained the hub of the DP, to ensure that the pilots did not simply operate autonomously, but remained committed to the partnership. There was also a development officer who worked to ensure the transfer of best practice information between the pilot projects.



Transnational partnerships


Pauline Graham, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO),


Action 2: 14 May 2005
Action 3: 14 November 2005

Equal theme

Social economy


Jobseekers with low basic skills, Unemployed


Mainstreaming Procurement advice (to support the social economy to deliver excellent public services).
  • Wide dissemination of “Tendering for public sector contracts – a practical guide for social economy organisations in Scotland” (This was produced after the DTI’s Procurement Guide and involves case studies from Scotland and the Scottish policy context).
  • Maintaining & developing an online database of procurement contacts and opportunities
  • Development and delivery of training in procurement for both purchasers and providers of public services.

Mainstreaming lessons from the local Social Economy Zones (to further disseminate the lessons learned from local partnerships).
  • Action research project – good practice from the four Social Economy Zone pilots
  • Rolling out of and support to Local Social Economy Partnerships (LSEPs) (based on Equal Zones experience)
    initiated as part of the Futurebuilders Scotland support programme, but envisaged to become an integrated part of local planning structures.

Making the case for the social economy (informing and influencing policy makers, practitioners and the sector itself about the wider benefits of investing in Scotland’s social economy)
  • Regional good practice seminars on themes/issues affecting the sector
  • Regional seminars for business advisers to the social economy,
  • Website development: www.socialeconomyscotland.info
  • National conference “More than profit – making the case for the social economy”
  • Policy briefing @ the Scottish parliament for MSP’s & policy influencers

Shaping careers & leaders (to counter the poor image of the sector as a recruitment choice and improve the workforce development prospects of staff currently employed)
  • Former Thematic sounding board overseeing the pilot project development and implementation is turned into a self-sustaining network exploring further project opportunities.

European Thematic Group (ETG) on Partnership & Procurement involvement – wide dissemination of Scottish good practice especially in the area of opening up procurement markets to the social economy

Is this information correct?



Main outputs

Activities and products

 Records 1 to 20 of 22