SCVO and SES briefing to the Scottish Parliament

20 January 2020

Summary

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and Social Enterprise Scotland support this Bill. We welcome the development of a Scottish National Investment Bank that works for the whole of Scotland, in particular investing in organisations that have purpose, impact and who are pursuing societal and environmental change, including charities, social enterprises and voluntary sector bodies.

This briefing sets out the views of both SCVO and SES on selected amendments to the Bill lodged at stage 3.

Our position

Group 1: Vision and objects

Amendments 32 and 33 in the name of Jackie Baillie MSP

SCVO and SES support these amendments. The Bank should act as a catalyst for fairer  organisation practices through investing in those bodies meeting Fair Work standards. The National Investment Bank will be one of the many drivers the Scottish Government has at its disposal to promote fair and progressive work and active employment policies. We also agree that replacing ‘promoting the advancement of’ with ‘advancing’ demonstrates higher ambitions of the Bank in facilitating change and action with regards to gender equality.         

Group 2: Investment practices 

Amendment 1 in the name of Jackie Baillie MSP

SCVO and SES fully support this amendment, which puts beyond any doubt the third sector’s ability to access financial assistance from the Bank. The definition used in the amendment, and defined by section 37 of the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016, provides a broad spectrum that includes charities, social enterprises, co-ops and voluntary sector bodies.

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) mission-oriented framework for the Bank states that missions require different sectors to come together. For the Scottish National Investment Bank to truly live up to its name, the Bank must lend to various actors in the economy. Picking the willing should not just be about picking businesses. It should not be a matter of size, private, community or third sector – if organisations are willing to help reach these missions then and deliver for the public purpose then they cannot be ruled out.

The private sector and commercially focused nature of the Bill and narrative surrounding the Bank require there to be complete clarity in the Bill on this issue. Our priority has been to raise awareness of and secure changes to this narrative. We want to make sure that the Bank maximises the impact, contributions and values of Scotland’s voluntary sector in developing a distinct, national financial institution, one that allows charities, social enterprises and voluntary bodies to secure finance – where appropriate – as a willing partner. 

Group 5: Gender equality strategy  

Amendments 35 and 37 in the name of Jackie Baillie MSP

SCVO and SES strongly support these amendments that require the Bank to produce and maintain an equality strategy. This strategy will outline how investment impacts men and women differently and how the Bank will take steps to ensure gender-equal outcomes and investments. The strategy will also detail how the Bank will take proactive steps to recognise a more gender-equal Scotland throughout the Bank’s activities and planned activities.

It addresses the need for this new financial institution to drive forward a commitment to inclusivity and equality within the Bank and its investments. A gender equality strategy will support the Bank in advancing women’s equality, a legal obligation under the public sector equality duty. It also embraces the leadership role on diversity and inclusion that Parliament expects the Bank to assume within the financial sector, as outlined in the Scottish Government’s Implementation Plan. 

Group 7: Equal pay review

Amendment 38 in the name of Jackie Baillie MSP

SCVO and SES support this amendmentto require the Bank to conduct a review on equal pay for equal work. This review would help the Bank to act as a catalyst for change in the financial sector with regards to gender equality. All employees of the Bank have the right to equal pay and the Bank’s adoption of an equal pay review would signal its commitment to addressing the gender-pay gap.