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.

Click here to read more…



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.

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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 communities. Provides a framework for communities to have greater agency in the design and delivery of local services, and establishes the right to request the transfer of assets.

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.

Click here to read more…



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