SCVO – Scottish Government Core Contribution Framework

20 November 2018

View the Core Grant Plan 2018-20.

The Core Contribution – Context

SCVO works with the Scottish Government to support, promote and develop the third sector in Scotland.

The Third Sector Unit in the Equalities, Human Rights and Third Sector Division (TSU, EHRTS) contributes to SCVO’s core activity, which spans a number of portfolios across the Scottish Government.

This investment does not purchase particular services or deliver singular projects but supports SCVO to work with Scottish Government on actions which build the third sector’s capacity and resilience. Our shared objective through the core contribution programme is to enable the sector to bring its collective experience and expertise to enhance public policy in Scotland.

Within this context there needs to be a degree of flexibility in order to ensure both SG and SCVO are able respond to emerging issues, shifting policy priorities and a changing landscape. This allows both parties to make in-year adjustments, agree priorities and deploy resources as circumstances dictate.

The Scottish Government’s resources enable SCVO to work with its members and the sector to create a third sector that is:

  • Fully engaged in public policy development and becomes increasingly influential over time
  • recognised as a key strategic partner, with interests and potential that are recognised and capitalised on as we strive to transform Scotland
  • bringing an understanding of how policy impacts on real lives, particularly those the most vulnerable and excluded groups in society.

For SCVO itself the core contribution also influences our priorities and helps us deliver better across the organisation. This funding agreement and the core contribution received from Scottish Government have a direct link to everything else SCVO does and enables us to deliver better across all areas of our activity.

SCVO’s overarching themes that we focus on in all our work are:

  • A more equal, empowered society
  • A fairer and more inclusive economy
  • A more engaged and participative democracy

Funding Relationship – Principles and Purpose

The purpose of the core funding relationship is:

“The core funding provided by the Scottish Government is a contribution to a set of shared outcomes, as SCVO uses the resource in a way which enables it to contribute to bigger outcomes for SCVO itself and the sector. SCVO is one of the key actors in positioning, shaping, building capacity and improving things for the sector.

This funding relationship enables Scottish Government – working in partnership with SCVO – to:

  • Strengthen the role, credibility and voice of the sector in the public policy arena
  • Extend the contribution of the sector through capacity building and organisational development
  • Help build the stability and capacity for SCVO to secure other major investments and programmes for the sector from other sources that support SCVO and Scottish Government’s shared objectives”.

The agreement between SCVO and SG recognises that:

  • The key drivers of the agreement – and the work programmes – will be the current and future challenges and opportunities facing the third sector and Scottish society.
  • The core contribution also helps ensure SCVO can – working with Scottish Government Ministers – respond on behalf of the sector on critical issues.
  • The agreement also recognises that a key role for SCVO in its relationship with Scottish Government is that it allows us to be a trusted ‘critical’ friend in that we will always be robust and honest in our assessment and views of Scottish Government’s thinking, policies and actions.


The focus of SCVO is to support, promote, develop a confident third sector in Scotland with the overall aim of helping the sector achieve its ambitions.

The concept of support, promote and develop in the Core Contribution Action Plan are more clearly defined operationally in relation to the sector as:

  • Third sector resilience (Support) – Securing the sector’s operating environment
  • Third sector voice (Promote) – Ensuring a strong third sector voice in relation to national policy development
  • Third sector future (Develop) – Provide leadership and vision to support the sector to adapt to changing environment

To achieve this SCVO will continue to develop its role as enabling force that supports the sector by:

  • Influencing
  • Brokering opportunities
  • Being willing to do things differently to support the sector
  • Creating products and services that help the sector
  • Continuing to develop collaborative working models.

The outcome of this approach and activity will:

  • Enable Scotland’s third sector to meet its ambition
  • Support a thriving third sector in Scotland
  • Maximise the impact of Scotland’s third sector.

The Shared Outcomes Strategy

The activity for this period of the Core Contribution will be set in the context of National Performance Framework in relation to agreed outcomes and the setting out of key activity.

We will also use this framework useful to reflect the inter-connections/dependencies between the funding provided from the Third Sector Division that supports core activity and the funding SCVO receives from this Division and from elsewhere in Scottish Government to support specific project activity, including Community Capacity & Resilience Fund, Milo, Community Jobs Scotland, Digital etc.

The main objectives/ expected outcomes are:

Third sector resilience (Support)

Securing the sector’s operating environment

  • Developing new funding models & long-term funding approaches for sector
  • Improving co-operation across the sector’s infrastructure
  • Informing & supporting compliance and regulation
  • To inspire trust in charities by supporting good governance within organisations to ensure they are well run, open and transparent, and to encourage charities to work harder at promoting the positive impact of their work.
  • To facilitate thinking and practical experiences that enables organisations in the sector to see the value in developing their leadership, re-thinking their mission and values and in transforming their business/operating model
Third sector voice(Promote)

Ensuring a strong third sector voice in relation to national policy development

  • Public service reform and personalisation
  • Sustainable Development Goals (incl. rights)
  • Local democracy, public engagement, participatory budgeting
  • Social security, poverty and disadvantage
  • The third sector’s contribution to inclusive economic growth
  • Developing and promoting a new narrative that repositions the third sector in Scotland
Third sector futures:(Develop)

Provide leadership and vision to support the sector to adapt to changing environment

  • Financial sustainability of organisations and the sector
  • Getting sector networks ahead of the curve on technology, society and politics
  • Developing more collaboration & partnership in the sector
  • Work with the Scottish Government to engage and help Scotland’s third sector understand the potential impact that Brexit will have and to ensure Scotland remains an outward looking and integrated European nation’.



Action Plan

The Action Plan to deliver on this Framework is attached.


The period of this Core Contribution runs from the 1st of October 2018 to the 31st of March 2020.



The Plan will be reviewed and refreshed – in discussion with Scottish Government – on an on-going basis – every 6 months – to ensure SCVO and the plan is flexible to response to a changing third sector environment.


About us

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national body representing the third sector. There are over 45,000 voluntary organisations in Scotland involving around 138,000 paid staff and approximately 1.3 million volunteers. The sector manages an income of £5.3 billion.

SCVO works in partnership with the third sector in Scotland to advance our shared values and interests. We have over 1,900 members who range from individuals and grassroots groups, to Scotland-wide organisations and intermediary bodies.

As the only inclusive representative umbrella organisation for the sector SCVO:

  • has the largest Scotland-wide membership from the sector – our 1,900 members include charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations of all shapes and sizes
  • our governance and membership structures are democratic and accountable – with an elected board and policy committee from the sector, we are managed by the sector, for the sector
  • brings together organisations and networks connecting across the whole of Scotland
  • SCVO works to support people to take voluntary action to help themselves and others, and to bring about social change.
  • Further details about SCVO can be found at


John Downie, Director of Public Affairs

Ruchir Shah, Head of policy

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations,

Mansfield Traquair Centre,

15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB


Tel: 0131 474 8000