Senscot Bulletin: 18.05.12

Dear members and friends,

 Last week was my birthday – 10.05.40; surfing the net, I happen on a list of 200 famous people born – that year.  The class of 1940 is 72 years old now – no longer ‘combat troops’ – but an impressive bunch – even a few of those rare spirits who make a real difference – change things.
 Among sportsmen, Denis Law was a 40s boy – and Pele – and for Hibbies, the great Joe Baker; but my chosen sport was golf – my nomination is Jack Nicklaus – arguably the greatest golfer ever.  Among a good crop of actors – I nominate the guy who gave us Michael Corleone; not that Al Pacino has ‘greatness’ (overacts) – but the Godfather trilogy certainly has – the great morality tale of our time – eternal.  My third choice is the visionary economist Muhammad Yunus – whose life work challenges the very basis of market capitalism; he wants to run the world economy to abolish poverty – must be mad.  1940 was an amazing year for musicians – in the UK alone, Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, Tom Jones etc.  But they were all dwarfed by late John Lennon – greatness unchallenged.
 Frank Sinatra was the generation before me (daughter Nancy was born in 1940) – but his art – interpreting the great American Songbook – helped shape the way I view the world.  A Sinatra ending; "Now the days grow short – I’m in the autumn of the year.  And now I think of my life as vintage wine, in fine old kegs – from the brim to the dregs – it poured sweet and clear – it was a very good year."  I wish.

Only 50 years ago, economics was seen as a humane discipline – with roots in moral philosophy.  Thinkers like Keynes would never have considered that civilised life could be ruled chiefly by economic reasoning.  Attached is a book review of Michael Sandel’s "What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets".  Sandel says that it was unthinkable – even for Margaret Thatcher – the extent to which the public realm over the last 30 years has been remade on market lines.  Schools, health, police, prisons, social care – nothing is now off limits.  What I try to argue in this bulletin – is that our third sector – the realm of the citizen and social capital – is currently being aggressively marketised.  Buying and selling is essentially a private interest.  Our entire sector is underpinned by voluntary action – a public interest.  Our best work can only flourish in structures protected from market power – because it’s only in the non market realm that every human being is considered an asset.  Third sector leaders need to say this. See,

In England, they are currently reviewing charity law – it’s interesting to observe suggestions for change.  The big charity legal firm Bates, Wells & Braithwaite (BWB) is calling for major relaxations – allowing charities to pay dividends to shareholders.  I believe that this would herald the end of our sector – but one of BWB’s proposal I agree with; that charities should be allowed to invest their reserves in social enterprises – even though they are riskier and pay less that the Footsy 100. See,

George Monbiot says that our idea of the ‘traditional’ family is fantasy – bunkum.  I might argue a couple of points – but really enjoyed this piece "The past invoked by social conservatives is fabricated from their own obsessions and anxiety.  It has nothing to offer us." See,

The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise – spells out the values and behaviours by which the SE community in Scotland defines itself. It allows individual businesses to judge for themselves whether they meet the criteria which distinguish us from the public or private sectors. SEs are invited to ‘subscribe’ to the Code – with the sponsorship of two existing subscribers. Other organisations or individuals are invited to ‘support’ the Code – which requires no sponsorship. New ‘supporters’ this week include Social Enterprise Scotland and Argyll and Bute SEN. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Places for People Scotland, Gorbals Recycles Project, The Village Storytelling Centre, Carluke Development Trust, Rowan Alba, Impact Arts, Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA)
EVENTS: Guided Photo Safari, 20 May; Creating Enterprise to enable Social Benefit, 23 May; Prove, Improve, Account, 23 May; Finance Training for the Third Sector, 31 May;
TENDERS: Provision of Interpretation Services, Creative Scotland – Impact Evaluation for London 2012 programme, Pitlochry Festival Theatre Feasibility Study and Work Experience and Employer Engagement Service. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: 21st June sees our 2nd annual sports focused conference entitled "Social Enterprise & Sport – It Delivers!"  With over 50 active Sport SEN members, their combined impact is vast. Sport SEN members use sport as a vehicle for youth diversionary activities; education programmes; pathways to employability; and health and wellness activities. Those who own or manage facilities can also fulfill the role of community anchor organisations.  The conference will be a showcase for members plus an opportunity to share views and tackle the key issues affecting our sector.  To book your place, see
For more Networks News, see

Over recent months, Senscot Legal has been involved in an increasing number of employment cases on behalf of social enterprises and third sector orgs. This is an area that can present significant challenges for both large and small employers, such as disciplinary/grievance issues, performance management, disability/other discrimination, redundancy process and selection. Senscot Legal offers a service that can review policies, procedures and company documents – as well as giving advice on specific situations. If Senscot Legal can be of any help, contact Alan or Karina at

As part of Scottish Govt’s ‘Developing Markets’ contract, the ReadyforBusiness (RfB) consortium is hosting a series of local events during May and June, bringing together procurement officers with local third sector orgs. See, . Also in June, the Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) is coming up to Scotland to host a similar event in Stirling. The Developing Markets contract seeks to promote a consistent message on opportunities for the public and third sectors to work together. Out of courtesy, SEM could have liaised with the RfB consortium on work that is already going on in this area in Scotland. See,

Closing date for the SSE/Lloyds Social Entrepreneurs Programme is Monday 28th May. 17 places are available on the Scottish Programme which will run in Edinburgh, starting in October 2012. See details,

News from Bookdonors on their new retail website – . If you want to buy a book, why not skip Amazon, and go straight to Bookdonors new site where you can purchase all your books directly from a Scottish social enterprise. They have over 180,000 books listed online.

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that is committed to strengthening Scotland’s public service interpreting and translation provision. Elite Linguists provides a Scotland-wide service with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Moray. Their core work includes face-to-face and telephone interpreting; translation and proof-reading; as well as training for interpreters and users of interpreters. Income generated goes towards extending their services and, in doing so, addresses some of the root causes of inequality and injustice in society where language is a barrier. See,

Last week’s uncle Nods story was widely circulated.  Senscot’s friend Simon Pia did a piece for the Scotsman which is attached – good photo of my cousin Gerry.  Simon ends his piece: "But come quarter to five on Saturday afternoon – if James McPake is holding aloft ‘The Old Tin Can’ at Hampden, you can be guaranteed that someone somewhere will be calling for canonisation.  Come to think of it, St Nods has rather a nice ring to it."  We understand that the main condition for canonisation, is at least one stonewall miracle.  This could be it! See,

If you search the Senscot website for Margaret Wheatley, it gives 46 references; I’ve been a fan for years – particularly of her thinking on leadership and community.  Wheatley herself is in Glasgow on June 5th, at the Trades Hall – I’ve got my ticket. See, . Her essay ‘The Place Beyond Hope and Fear’ made an impression on me – still does:
"When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure.  Life now insists that we encounter groundlessness.  Systems and ideas that seemed reliable and solid dissolve at an increasing rate.  People who asked for our trust betray or abandon us.  Strategies that worked suddenly don’t.  Groundlessness is a frightening place, at least at first, but as the old culture turns to mush, we would feel stronger if we stopped searching for ground, if we sought only to locate ourselves in the present and do work from here".  See,

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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