Dear members and friends,
I’ve been registered for 10 years with the South Queensferry Health Centre – where I receive excellent service. Practice is clearly under pressure to save money – but if you go with who’s available you can see a doctor tomorrow. However, I have friends and family who work in NHS hospitals – who tell worrying stories of a system that’s creaking. My impression is that the shortage of community based social care services – results in hundreds of hospital beds being ‘blocked’ – by folk who can’t go home.
Last week Audit Scotland – this week the professional body for GPs – tell us in measured language, that the NHS cannot continue to offer the present level of service. Our health minister, Alex Neil, responds truthfully that we have never spent more – or treated so many people – but his eyes betray the impossible levels of demand; that the system is running flat out – to stand still.
It becomes clearer every month – that the NHS we take for granted – cannot be sustained; politicians are scared to tell the truth, that we can’t afford it – not as it operates now. So we need an honest grown up conversation – free of party politics – to determine what we can afford – how to best deliver it. Through our third sector – civil society has the capacity to mobilise the goodwill of thousands of volunteers – that’s what we do. The vision is of an army of citizens – coproducing the community infrastructure to sustain the essentials of our most cherished public service. We can do this. (a piece which understands this vision).
It is useful to distinguish between two different understandings of what social enterprise means. The first, coming mainly from the USA, assumes that private profit is the only reliable driver of enterprise – and that SE is simply an adaptation of normal commerce – to facilitate access to ‘sensitive’ markets – like health and social care, overseas development. etc. The other understanding, favoured in Scotland, is that SE is an adaptation of third sector activity – essentially driven by citizen compassion and concern for social justice. It serves no purpose to pretend that these contradictory values amount to the same thing – when across the UK and Europe the soul of SE is being contested. The UK Labour party says that, if elected, it will reserve aspects of public procurement for charities and SEs – and for this purpose – it will define what qualifies as an SE. This will be controversial. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18261
Exploitative monopolies, like Microsoft/Windows, are the embodiment of all that’s wrong with the modern commerce: greedy, anti-democratic, contempt for customers. The opposite of this is the inspiring concept of ‘the commons’ – assets and systems – developed and operated for the common good – which we can all use and contribute to. This is the annual appeal letter from Jimmy Wales – founder of Wikipedia.
Chi Onwurah, the UK shadow minister for SE, says that her forthcoming SE definition will not include organisations which exploit interns or pay the minimum wage. This raises the issue of ‘Workfare’ – which requires Jobseekers to work for 6 months without a wage; a Motherwell SE was recently in the news about this. I support the campaigns against workfare – but there are SEs which operate in geographic and thematic areas on the very edge of the economy; are we saying to them ‘living wage or nothing’? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18252
The UK Government’s privatisation of the public sector now embraces the Probation Service – with the recent announcement of preferred bidders for 21 regional ‘payment by results’ contracts. The successful bidders are consortia with some third sector involvement – but once again private companies are in the lead – with Sodexo and Interserve running half the contracts. There are around 1400 local voluntary and community groups active in this field. Will these private Prime contractors be able to engage with them. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18262
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Queens Cross HA, Scottish Drugs Forum, RAMH, Victim Support Scotland, Greener Leith, Citizens Advice Scotland, Remade in Edinburgh
EVENTS: Advanced Leadership Practice, 18 Nov; Ecole Enterprise AGM, 19 Nov; Community Challenge Dragons’ Den, 21 Nov; Aberdeen Impact Awards, 25 Nov; Pre-Start Leadership, 4 Dec;
TENDERS: Investment Readiness Consultancy, Kilmartin House Trust; Construction of West Harris Community Enterprise Centre, West Harris Trust; Provision of support to individuals with autism and complex needs, NHS Highland; and more at http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1642
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Next week’s SE Conference and Ceilidh is now sold out. 140 delegates are signed up and, amongst them, we will be welcoming, for the first time, a delegation from Liverpool. Here’s a link to the final programme, www.senscot.net/docs/CeilidhProgramme14Final.pdf . Things to look out for include; a consultation session on a SE Strategy for Scotland; the Dragons’ Den – where five brave ‘knights’ have been selected to face the Dragons; a Showcase from previous Dragons’ Den entrants; as well as four varied workshops – see, www.senscot.net/docs/Workshops14.pdf. We’d appreciate if you could get back to firstname.lastname@example.org asap on your workshop choices. Lastly, we are now crowdfunding for the Audience Prize at the Dragons’ Den. You can donate here.
For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=373
George Monbiot is an invaluable pro-democracy warrior – particularly his vigilance over the shenanigans of global corporations; this piece is about the Transantlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the EU and the US. This astonishing treaty would grant special powers to corporations to sue democratic governments – curbing legislation which puts people before money. Monbiot reports on massive public reaction against TTIP – but says the fight is ongoing.
The Social Investment Fund, administered by Social Investment Scotland (SIS), distributed over £30m to
around 70 communities across Scotland. This week, SIS published a report highlighting the impact of these investments. One of the most striking outcomes highlighted in the report was the creation of over 1,100 jobs – with the expectation of another 400 within the next three years. Here’s a link to the full report, see
Delighted to hear this week that – according to a study from University College London – European migrants made a net contribution to the UK economy of £20bn over the past decade. This doesn’t surprise me at all – but is very different to the narrative of the UKippers and Tory right; I wonder who they’ll turn on now. See,
This week (Nov 6-8) – hundreds of delegates from across Scotland converged on Oban for the launch of the Rural Parliament. Based on a model pioneered in Sweden 25 years ago – the new assembly will establish priorities for the million or so Scots who live in rural areas. Some innovative techniques will be deployed in plenary sessions – to allow anyone to raise anything – and test popular reaction. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18260
This week’s bulletin profiles a Dundee SEN member that is part of the Tayside Deaf Hub, along with Dundee Deaf Sports and Social Club (DDSSC) and Tayside Deaf Forum (TDF). The Hub’s goal is to develop services, activities and learning that reflect the needs of deaf people in the area, empowering them to become equal and active members of the communities they live in. Deaf Links itself provides a wide range of activities and learning opportunities for deaf people as well as running an onsite café and operating as popular local venue for room hire. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=18249
From Manjit Kumar’s 2008 book, Quantum:
“After Elsa’s death, Einstein established a routine that as the years passed varied less and less. Breakfast between 9 and 10 was followed by a walk to the institute. After working until 1pm he would return home for lunch and a nap. Afterwards he would work in his study until dinner between 6.30 and 7pm. If not entertaining guests, he would return to work until he went to bed between 11 and 12. He rarely went to the theatre or to a concert, hardly ever watched a film. He was, Einstein said in 1936, ‘living in the kind of solitude that is painful in one’s youth but in one’s more mature years is delicious’.”
He died aged 76; at the end he refused surgery saying; “I have done my share – it is time to go – and I will do it elegantly”. See a review of Quantum: https://senscot.net/?viewid=18258
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210