Duncan Thorp: "going forward the social enterprise voice has to be heard loud and clear"
Social Enterprise Scotland recently responded to a Scottish Government consultation on Scotland’s National Performance Framework (the NPF).
The National Performance Framework is Scotland’s official wellbeing index and sets out the type of country the Scottish Government wants to see.
The purpose of the NPF is to create a more successful country by increasing the wellbeing of everyone in Scotland, reducing inequalities and giving equal importance to economic, environmental and social progress.
To help achieve this purpose, the framework sets out ‘National Outcomes’ to describe the kind of Scotland that government wants to create.
The NPF aims to get everyone in Scotland working together, though it still has a long way to go to achieve this ambition. This 'Team Scotland' approach includes national and local government, businesses, the third sector and social enterprise and anyone living in Scotland.
The Scottish Government consultation that we responded to was specifically a review of the National Outcomes element and they wanted to know whether the existing National Outcomes are the right ones.
This is a requirement every five years under the Community Empowerment Act 2015, and was not a wider review of the NPF, something that may be needed in future.
Social enterprises have a very clear and established role in building a better, more democratic economy across both urban and rural Scotland.
They therefore have a direct interest in an effective and inclusive National Performance Framework and appropriate National Outcomes, that reflect their contribution to Scotland.
The NPF and the National Outcomes have the potential to really map Scotland’s progress, bring coherence to policy-making and empower communities.
However, we must ensure that there’s specific mention of social enterprise, the third sector and business purpose throughout the framework.
The NPF can and should be further developed and promoted to ensure better public understanding and much better connections with social enterprises and wider civic society.
As is now widely recognised within government and civic society, there’s a new urgency for change and for genuine economic transformation.
In a fast-changing global economy and within the context of climate change, the cost of living and post-pandemic recovery, we need to think, speak and act in a more fundamental way with our economy.
This must mean the NPF integrating with other similar policy initiatives like Fair Work, social enterprise and co-operative development, community ownership and Community Wealth Building.
It also means driving momentum and real change in terms of embedding business purpose and social/environmental impact by all types and sizes of business in Scotland.
Going forward the social enterprise voice has to be heard loud and clear in the NPF. We’re very much part of the solution in solving the big social, environmental and economic challenges that affect every one of us.
Duncan Thorp is policy and public affairs manager at Social Enterprise Scotland.