Senscot Bulletin: 08.07.11

Dear members and friends,

 Some time ago – a good friend was setting up a new project for kids in the east end of Glasgow – asks me to be the chair.  ‘The only problem,’ she says ‘is that you’re not great at chairing meetings – talk too much.’  ‘Well’ I reply, ‘you chair the meetings – I’ll be the public chair – the spokesman.’ ‘Well, that’s the other problem,’ she says, ‘sometimes, you’re too unguarded – say things which reflect badly.’  ‘Hold on!’ I say – miffed – ‘If I’m a crap chair – and an unreliable spokesman – why choose me?’  ‘Because,’ she replies, ‘I know that if ever there’s a serious dispute at board level – that you’ll be on my side.’  We sometimes laugh about this ‘interview’ – my appraisal as ‘useless but loyal’.
Society’s core operating system – social capital – depends on many million friendships like this – linkages – relationships.  Ordinary citizens, doing stuff that they will never be paid for – or get credit for; doing stuff just because it feels right to them.   This is what really keeps the world going round – in society – in communities – in neighbourhoods – in families; yet few politicians grasp the eternal simplicity of human compassion – that its just there – ‘like the ooze of oil crushed.’
 Their latest nonsense is the ‘payment by results’ policy for delivering services.  Apparently we are to measure the cost benefits of our work – so that social investment can become a profit yielding ‘asset class’.  What absolute piffle!  I feel a rant coming on.

Last week’s idea of hosting a seminar entitled – "is social enterprise changing the world or being changed by it?" – got a big reaction – over 80 readers have expressed support, the tick box is still active  At the heart of social enterprise, is the vision of a different type of society and economy – one which challenges the dominant consumerist mindset.  But there is no mainstream debate about new production and ownership mechanisms; instead Govt. tries to co-opt SE into its agendas and, incredibly, capitalist funding (social impact bonds) is proposed for third sector activity.  So the seminar is on for September 30th at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.  Costs will be kept to a minimum; we’ll let you know when booking is available.   The link is to a page for reader’s comments and related papers – which will continue, and become a context paper for the event.

The Third Sector Division of Scottish Govt has a new gaffer – Yvonne Strachan; the seventh (equivalent) which Senscot has worked with.  It’s not ideal, is it, that once civil servants learn the job – they move on.  I’ve already had a quick chat with Yvonne and am full of hope.  She really understands what we do – and really wants the job.  Come the hour – cometh the woman.  Here’s the official word from Geoff Pope.

Carl Jung believed that we each have innate personality traits which determine the way we perceive and decide things.  The Myers Briggs Test (derived from Jung’s work) confirms, for instance, that I’m less influenced by objective fact than by intuition (possibilities and relationships). In this interesting column, Rosamund McCarthy argues that the way we, in the third sector, choose to evaluate the impact of our enterprises – will depend on personality as much as anything – whither we are a ‘data’ or ‘vision’ person.

The decision by the Lottery in England to award £11.25m to Social Finance – to develop Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) – raises some serious questions.  Not only was it a solicited bid (non competitive) but, many third sector leaders argue that the SIBs concept is fundamentally flawed – that it will lead to the manipulation of outcomes – or the exclusion of the most disadvantaged people.  We need to ask how much the govt wanted this one – and why – and how much it influences lottery awards.

Rocket Science has developed a new tool aimed at smaller organisations going through a period of transition. The Ready for Change Tool is FREE and is designed to help them understand the barriers they may be facing and, in doing so, help them to manage the process of change that may be required. See more,

Andreas Whittam Smith – in yesterdays Independent – draws comparisons between Rupert Murdoch’s News International empire (no sense of right and wrong) and the way in which the Italian mafia corrupt the police and intimidate politicians.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See This week:
JOBS: The Place2Be; Social Enterprise Academy; Migrants Support Services; Aspire2gether; Kinetic; Caledonia Youth; Highland Hospice; Cranstoun Community Development Project;
EVENTS: HR workshop- Hints and tips when recruiting your first employee, 19 Jul; Social Enterprise Notice Event, 27 Jul; Social Capital World Forum 2011, 24 Sep
TENDERS: Stress and Anxiety Service in North West Glasgow; Tenants Participation Support Service; Family Support Service; Care at Home Services for Adults and Older People; Occupational Health Service

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: The month of July (our quietest of the year) offers us the opportunity to reflect on progress during the early part of the year and consider the challenges going forward. Two issues have dominated our thoughts so far – SEN engagement with the Interfaces; and support available to SEN members in the current climate. There is cause for some optimism. There is evidence of progress in terms of the Interfaces willingness to engage with local social enterprise communities. Some areas remain a concern but we will stay `on the case` to support these areas as best we can. In terms of new support programmes – Just Enterprise and the 3rd Sector Growth Fund -will be up and running over the summer. In addition, we anticipate news from Scottish Govt on their strategy for social enterprise (2012-15) sometime in September. With luck, SEN members will be able to plan for the future with more confidence.  For more Networks News, see

Senscot Legal has now clocked up its 40th client. Set up specifically for the benefit of third sector organisations – at affordable rates – Senscot Legal can offer assistance with a range of matters including employment, property (we’ve assembled a pool of property specialists to assist) and governance. It is also offering a competitive package (£600) for organisations wishing to adopt the new legal form – Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) If Senscot Legal can be of help, contact . For more on Senscot Legal, see

Following their success in hosting the 2008 Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh, CEiS has continued to hold an annual social enterprise conference each September. This year’s event is scheduled for Wednesday, 7th September at the Radisson Hotel in Glasgow. Issues for discussion and debate this year will include the experiences of the social enterprise community in relation to the Third Sector Interfaces as well as the Scottish Govt`s social enterprise strategy for 2012-15. It will also be an opportunity for many people to meet Yvonne Strachan, the new head of the Govt`s Third Sector Division. See more,

Senscot has recently joined Twitter. You can ‘follow’ us and receive updates from Laurence and staff members:!/Senscot. It is a struggle for me sometimes to keep within the 140 character limit but I will endeavour to reply to comments or replies to our ‘tweets’.

This week’s bulletin profiles a Glasgow-based social enterprise providing professional money and debt advice to people who would generally be isolated from the usual mainstream professional services. Set up in 2009, Plan B offers a range of services that include Debt advice and resolution; credit repair; money health checks; debt counselling; and an aftercare services. All Plan B`s services are free to clients. See more,

In his 1973 paper, Buddhist Economics, E.F Shumacher quotes the French political philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenal.  "Western man tends to count nothing as an expenditure, other than human effort: he does not seem to mind how much mineral matter he wastes and, far worse, how much living matter he destroys.  He does not seem to realise at all that human life is a dependent part of an ecosystem of many different forms of life.  As the world is ruled from towns where men are cut off from any form of life other than human, the feeling of belonging to an ecosystem is not reviewed.  This results in a harsh and improvident treatment of things upon which we ultimately depend, such as water and trees."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210