Policy Old

This section brings together policy documents which are of interest to rural social enterprises. Each of these documents have been summarised to provide a clear and concise overview of the policy or strategy.

As this section develops we hope that you will highlight and share those that you find most useful in making the case for rural social enterprise. You can submit documents to be included here.


International Policy


Policy Implications of Coronavirus Crisis for Rural Development

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)


This policy note examines the policy implications of the coronavirus crisis for rural development, and considers the policy responses that OECD member countries are adopting, using national examples to highlight good practice. The note also summarises how governments can prepare to leverage opportunities, and highlights the key opportunities and challenges.

Read more here



Rural 3.0. People-Centered Rural Policy: Policy Highlights 2019

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)


Described as a ‘road-map for delivering wellbeing in rural regions’, this policy framework aims to help national governments support rural development. It highlights the contribution that rural areas make to OECD economies, as well as the current challenges.

Rural areas make a vital contribution to the well-being and prosperity of OECD countries. They produce our food and raw materials, amenities and ecosystem services, and are sources of productivity growth and technological innovation.

However, rural areas have also borne much of the cost of structural transformations in recent decades. The re-orientation of OECD economies toward services has largely benefited cities. Rural industries have been exposed to increased competition from lower wage countries, declines in trade, and disruptive technologies. 

Population ageing has affected the quality and accessibility of public services. These trends have torn the social fabric of many rural communities. (page 1).

Rural 3.0 calls for rural policy to change in three key ways:

  • From just economic objectives to include social and environmental ones.
  • From a simple rural /urban divide to one that recognises the connections between them.
  • From government as the only stakeholder to include the private sector and civil society.

Investments that offer a positive return to society should be the main instrument for rural development. In situations where markets fail, due to incomplete information, negative externalities, insufficient competition or lack of provision of public goods, governments may have to be more directly involved in order to ensure that well-being in rural areas is improved. In particular, support for social enterprise and the voluntary sector is a useful way to enhance rural communities (page 18).

Read more here


Social Enterprise World Forum 


The Social Enterprise World Forum website hosts a resource library, which allows you to easily navigate through local, regional, national, and international examples of social enterprise policy.

Click here to read more…




Advancing Social Enterprise in Nova Scotia


Outlines the regional strategy for advancing social enterprise in Nova Scotia, a province in the Canadian Maritimes. The strategy builds from the Scottish Social Enterprise Survey, highlighting the fact that ‘progress is most pronounced in remote rural and island communities’, of which there are many across Nova Scotia.

Click here to read more




Social Enterprise Strategy: Victoria State Government


Outlines the social enterprise strategy for the state of Victoria, in south-eastern Australia. The strategy recognises a specific role for social enterprise in rural areas, especially as community-driven responses to local issues.

Click here to read more





The Way Forward: Social Action Plan. Newfoundland and Labrador


This action plan sets out the focus for developing social enterprise in Newfoundland and Labrador from 2018-2021. References to rural social enterprise are limited, although it does commit to use research to understand the social enterprise sector, and identify and support new social enterprise opportunities in both urban and rural areas.

Click here to read more




European Policy

This section provides an insight into the different legal and support structures for social enterprise in Finland, Estonia and Romania.


Scottish Policy

This section highlights policy in Scotland. Links are provided to the detail on the different policy documents. The focus here is on their relevance to rural social enterprise.


Rural Economy


A new blueprint for Scotland’s rural economy: Recommendations to Scottish Ministers

National Council of Rural Advisors

This report produced in September 2018 calls for the strategic importance of the rural economy to be mainstream in all policy and decision making processes. Click here to read more…


”We believe the rural economy is one of Scotland’s greatest assets. Our rural industries feed and fuel homes and businesses across the country. Our rural landscapes attract tourists from across the world. Our rural communities are brimming with creativity, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. And according to the latest figures, our rural economy contributes over a quarter of the total value of the Scottish economy – £34.6bn in 2015, which was almost as much as Edinburgh and Glasgow combined (£38.1bn)”.


The recommendations are being implemented by the Rural Economy Action Group. Click here for more details…


Social Enterprise


This SE Policy Framework outlines the process for social enterprise policy development and implementation in Scotland.


Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise Sector in Scotland Action Plan 2017-20


This plan sets out the first steps to deliver the vision set out in the Social Enterprise Strategy, focusing on key priorities. This action plan may be subject to revision in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic, and its impact on the economy.

Click here to read more




Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016 – 2026


Published in 2016 this lays out the ten-year national strategy for social enterprise in Scotland setting out shared ambitions for the development of social enterprise in rural and urban areas across Scotland.

Click here to read more





Community Empowerment and Engagement


Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

This is a key piece of legislation that extended the community right to buy, already available to rural communities via the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, to urban ones.

It provides a framework for communities to have a greater say in the design and delivery of local services via participation requests and establishes the right to request the transfer of assets.

It allows different types of communities bodies to be involved in forestry leasing and requires local authorities to develop local food strategies.

The Act establishes the National Outcomes in law and requires local authorities to establish Community Planning Partnerships and to involve local communities in all stages of community planning.

Click here to read more



Rural Development


The Scottish Rural Development Programme 2014-2020


The SRDP is part of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, and is funded by the European Commission and the Scottish Government. Its purpose is to help achieve sustainable economic growth in Scotland’s rural areas. The most familiar SRDP schemes to social enterprise are LEADER and the Forestry Grant Scheme.

Click here to read more



Land Reform


Land Reform Summary

Making More of Scotland's Land International Making Place ...The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, placed a duty on Scottish Ministers to produce a statement of land rights and responsibilities, set up the Scottish Land Commission, and made provision for various changes to land ownership and management.


The Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS) (September 2017) sets out six key principles and expectations for the relationship between people and land.

  • A commitment to create a framework that promotes, respects and fulfils human rights in relation to land.
  • There should be a more diverse pattern of land ownership.
  • There should be greater community ownership, leasing and use of buildings and land.
  • Those that hold land rights and responsibilities to exercise them to meet high standards of land ownership, management and use.
  • Improved transparency of information about ownership and use of land
  • Greater collaboration and community engagement in decisions about land.

It reflects changing expectations for the ways in which decisions about land are made. Together with the Scottish Government’s Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions about Land, it makes it clear that a wider range of voices should be able to influence and benefit from land use decisions.

You can read the full statement here


The Scottish Land Commission was established on 1st April 2017. Its stated aim is to drive

a programme of land reform spanning both urban and rural land, to improve the productivity, diversity and accountability of the way Scotland’s land is owned and used’.

Key elements of its work include:

  • A focus on good practice in the way land is owned and used in urban and rural Scotland
  • Modernising the pattern of land ownership
  • Improving relationship between landowners and tenant farmers
  • Transforming vacant and derelict land.

The Scottish Land Commission is currently advising Scottish Ministers on the development of Regional Land Use Partnerships. The interim report published July 2020 proposes that community membership will be a key element of the tripartite governance arrangement and that ‘substantial elements of funding for climate, natural capital and rural development should be delivered and targeted through Regional Land Use Partnerships’.

It also highlights that they should be ‘exemplars for those who make decisions about land, meeting the expectations of Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS), the Scottish Government Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land, and the National Standards for Community Engagement’.

You can read the full report here: