Monday, May 21, 2007

A Quango For The Chop?

Scottish Policy Net, according to their web site, ‘is developing as an interactive forum for strategic conversation about social, cultural and economic change. Conversation takes place directly on the web, and is actively facilitated to stimulate discussions and ensure relevance and quality of submissions. This is what it says on their web site and goes onto say…

The aim of the SPN is to provide an online forum for focussed (their spelling mistake) discussion of a diverse range of social, economic and governance issues, and to support and supplement face-to-face dialogue rather than to take its place. Thus people who have met can use it to continue their discussions, and groups that form online may subsequently meet in person.

Developing lively online discussion takes some time to develop its full potential, and does so most effectively when
1. the subjects under discussion are well defined
2. those involved have significant commonality of experience
3. there is a degree of privacy which encourages candid contributions
4. there is active facilitation of the dialogues

Near the end of the web site’s home page it says “There are no live discussions on the 
Scottish Policy Net at this time.”

Scottish Policy Net is part of the Scottish Council Foundation whose stated aim is.

‘develops leading edge thinking and world class practice to address the strategic challenges facing Scotland and other modern economies and societies in an age of complexity and rapid change.’

It has a number of industry supporters, the Scottish Executive as well as other Quangos putting some of our money into this organization. This is the list from their web site.

BP, BT, ICL, Xerox, Sun Microsystems, Amey, Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, National Lottery Charities Board, Glasgow Council for Voluntary Services, Volunteer Development Scotland, and Local authorities and Social Inclusion Partnerships.

To see the sort of work they do go HERE

Two of their projects picked at random….

Rural Financial Inclusion & Capability
Promoting financial inclusion and supporting capability in money matters is of growing interest to policy-makers and practitioners. Most of the focus to date has been on disadvantaged urban communities. In this new study, supported by Friends Provident Foundation and the Scottish Executive (Environment & Rural Affairs Department), we will explore the nature of under-served need for appropriate financial services, advice and education in three case study areas of rural Scotland: Highland, Argyll & Bute and East Ayrshire. We are exploring residents’ priorities for change and consider how responsibility for addressing them should be located. The study builds on the findings of our report Thrifty Scots? It will report in June 2007.

Rethinking Representation – Phase 2
This project continues an earlier SCF study Re-thinking Representation (2002) a 3-year study of attitudes among MSPs, carried out 1999-2001. This second phase catches up with MSPs early in 2007, capturing their experiences and reflections as the second parliament term comes to an end. A final phase will take place during the third term of the Scottish Parliament. The findings from Phase 2 will report in June 2007.

What are we getting for our money? What value do they add? Are they high on the SNP’s list of a Quango for the chop?


Ellee said...

That report about Thrifty Scots sounds interesting, I wonder what it will say that is new.

james higham said...

I always thought quangos were fact-finding missions to the Bahamas. shows how wrong one can be.

Richard Havers said...

Ellee I feel it will say nothing that's of any use yo anyone. James's notion of a Quango sounds much more useful!

Bunc said...

There are Quangos and Quangos.

I certainly thought that you had found the mother of all quangos - but...
Actually its not a Quango. If you look at their list of supporters ( financial supporters) you will see that they include BT Shell and other private sector companies.

They are more akin to a private sector consultancy company but are not-for-profit - so not a quango I'm afraid.

CalumCarr said...

Re: what are we getting from our money? I am sure the official line will trot a list as long as my arm.

Me, I'm a cynical old sod: at best, not much but possibly zero benefit.


You're not bringing stereotypes into the post, are you, or am I reacting stereotypically with a chip on both shoulders?!?!?

Richard Havers said...

Bunc, I thought for awhile that they were not a Quango but there's a lot of money coming in from other Quangos and the SE. It also looks like most of their projects are on behalf of the SE or Quangos.

They are certainly listed as a Quango on the Glasgow Uni site.

Richard Havers said...

Bunc, having looked again I take the point about them being not for profit. However, the fact remains that SE money, and money from other Quangos, goes into the SCF. My point, in part, is that this money just seems to flow around between organizations that have no real accountability. It gets lost in the wash

I still wished that I'd picked another one to start with!

Richard Havers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Havers said...

Looking into the SCF is more interesting than I first thought. They not only do work commissioned by the SE, but also on behalf of corporate clients that is then somehow turned back on the SE as what looks like lobbyng.

It will be interesting to see if the SCF continues to do so well under the SNP.