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Social Action in Scotland – an independent inquiry

Recruitment of Co-leads x2 – Research Lead & Social Action Lead

Do you want to help build a Scotland where what communities do themselves can make a real difference? A Scotland that values this ‘social action’ and helps to make it happen?

The inquiry’s vision is:

A Scotland which recognises the value of social action and where its potential to enable us to overcome the challenges we face in the 21st century is unleashed.

This independent inquiry will be led by people with direct, lived experience as part of Scottish communities which have felt that they do not hold power over decisions affecting their own lives, but that this has been exercised by others. This might be, for example, experience of childhood trauma, homelessness, or poverty, experience of racial inequity, economic or educational disadvantage or living with a disability. It will support people to find their voices, take action, and use what they learn to help create wider change. In the light of COVID19, this work is more important than ever.

We are looking to recruit two Inquiry Lead roles: Research Lead and Social Action Lead, to work alongside a Social Action Inquiry Panel of up to twelve people, including two Co-chairs to understand, help deliver and support action.

As Inquiry Lead, you should have a strong commitment to the power of social action, both in terms of learned and lived experience. The ideal candidate will have experience with community-based research, system change, and feel comfortable working in a complex, and changing, project. An understanding of political and social context of Scotland will be needed for this role. Most importantly, this role requires everyone involved to embrace a collaborative model of power rooted in relationships and strengths.

If you’re interested and would like to chat about the roles and whether they might be right for you we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Sam Anderson or Catherine-Rose Stock-Rankin, Co-chairs of the Social Action Inquiry by emailing

To apply, complete the application form, demonstrating your suitability for the role(s), also enclosing a copy of your CV and send to by 9 June 

Application form

Equality & Monitoring Form

The Inquiry has been set up by a partnership of organisations: Carnegie UK Trust; Corra Foundation; Foundation Scotland; the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE); Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO); The National Lottery Community Fund; and The Robertson Trust. When you apply for this position, your application information may be shared amongst these partners and other community representatives involved with the recruitment process. If you are successful in your application, these positions will be hosted by SCVO.

In July 2020 Social Action Inquiry partners commissioned The Collective to lead on a short-term piece of research to capture the stories and lessons learned from communities coming together to help. Read the final research report here:

Inquiry Roles



Together, it is essential the co-leads bring the following skills, experience and characteristics:

  • Strong commitment to the power of social action and its possibilities for Scotland, both in terms of learned and lived experience
  • Embrace a collaborative model of power rooted in relationships and strengths
  • Be responsive to the needs of the partners and work in a way that is congruent to the values and principles of the inquiry
  • Flexibility in personal style, with an ability to lead a project that is complex, emergent, and changing.
  • Experience of people management, with the ability to learn, use initiative but seek help, when required and provide support and guidance to a small team
  • Strong relationship building and interpersonal skills, with the ability to deal with complex dynamics and capacity to persuade and influence those whose behaviour the inquiry seeks to change.
  • Knowledge of communities of place, interest, practice, kinship, and the ways people form and maintain community
  • System change and transition, and the role of funding and funders in driving social change within the political and social context of Scotland
  • Excellent written and verbal communication for different audiences, thinking logically and methodically
  • Conflict management and active listening skills; with the ability to constructively give and receive feedback
  • Excellent IT proficiency, including: Office 365 suite of software, cloud-based file management, email management
  • Experience in administering funding and managing a budget
  • Excellent time and workload management; high level of self-motivation

Research lead specific skills:

  • Relationship building with individuals, communities and organisations.
  • Willingness and skills to work with communities to develop research agenda.
  • Evaluation skills, particularly participatory evaluation using theory-based approaches
  • Research skills, especially qualitative data analysis skills
  • Project management skills, and ability to manage a multi-stream research project over a 2-3 year period
  • Excellent financial management skills

Social action lead specific skills:

  • Communication and design skills, especially in producing accessible outputs/information
  • Facilitation skills, ability to support others to reflect and learn
  • Project management skills, and ability to contribute to design and support a multi-site social action initiative
  • Excellent financial management skills
  • Relationship building skills, experience with co-creating projects with people and communities
  • Understanding of local decision-making structures and build relationships with decision makers

The co-lead roles are for three days per week for the duration of the inquiry due to end December 2023. Each role will be reimbursed at a rate of £600 per week based on 21 hours per week plus reasonable expenses.

This role requires working remotely and independently, therefore self-motivation is essential. This role may require travel around Scotland and some evening and weekend working.

This role will be supported by the Inquiry Co-chairs, who work three days a month, flexibly, to manage the Inquiry process. A Social Action Inquiry Panel of ten people will also be appointed to support the process and the Co-leads.