Stakeholders and participants at the event 'The Way Forward' (TWF) held on the 13rd June have concluded various key messages regarding the role and development of FSEN. The outline is below. FSEN's response to these key messages will be published soon, followed by a detailed report on the event and members feedback.
- There is a perceived advantage in the collective strength of the network. This should be applicable to partnership, lobbying, joint tendering and skills sharing.
- There is a necessity to increase communication and develop online presence of the Network, which will raise the profile of the Network and its members.
- FSEN's relationship with TSI is vital for the local community. There is a need to clarify the roles and responsibilities in the support of financial management for local social enterprises.
- There are plenty of opportunities for development (Edinburgh City Region Deal) and FSEN should learn from the case studies from other areas, for example Dundee SEN.
- Members need to become more involved. At the same time, more participation tools and mechanisms should be in place to facilitate involvement.
- FSEN needs to be considered as a key partner at local level and must be represented at local strategic partnerships, e.g. Community Planning Partnership. FSEN also needs to establish itself as the representative of Fife social enterprises with national bodies, e.g. Scottish Government, SENSCOT, Social Enterprise Scotland, National Regulators and Funders.
- There is a clear demand for sector specific support and engagement. This will make meetings and events meaningful and would bolster time commitment to the SEN.
- There is a lack of dedicated resources. The management of the FSEN by a Coordinator substantially limits the potential of the Network, as showed previously by Dundee SEN. It is therefore essential that financial support is made available from either Fife Council or the Local TSI to expand the resources available.
- There are opportunities for knowledge exchange with other networks, an example of this is the approach by Fife Chamber of Commerce.
- An outreach strategy needs to be in place to accommodate the size, geographical scope and different interests from the membership.
- Health & Social Care integration is an ongoing strategic shift that imposes challenges, but also brings a huge window of opportunities. This agenda is seen as a potential catalyst of partnerships and joint tendering.
- Experience and variety of skills within the membership needs to be captured and developed to the benefit of all members.
- In a time of austerity, the FSEN needs to broaden its horizons and be creative, exploring opportunities for members beyond Fife. Budget cuts at local level and change to 7 Functional Areas in Fife needs to be monitored.
We will be responding in detail to the key messages and recommendations.
WHAT IS ‘FSEN – THE WAY FORWARD’?
On 13th June, FSEN organised a half-day workshop for social businesses and social entrepreneurs to discuss the future of FSEN. Special thanks to Bonnie Hacking from the University of St Andrews who facilitated the discussions and guest speakers: Derek Marshall from Factory Skatepark, Susan Smith from Dundee SEN and Kim Wallace from Senscot. More information about the event can be found from our earlier media release.