New South of Scotland Enterprise starts to take shape to deliver ambitious plans for the region

The Chair of the new South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) Professor Russel Griggs OBE and Interim Chief Executive Nick Halfhide have announced their vision and ambitious plans for the region today (5 March) ahead of the last South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) Board meeting in Gretna.

The new SOSE goes live on 1 April and will bring with it an exciting opportunity to establish the South of Scotland as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.  

The new agency will build on the work of SOSEP which was set up as an interim arrangement while SOSE was being established.  The Scottish Government supported SOSEP and the work to deliver the new agency with £13.3m last financial year. 

Work is well underway to establish the new non-departmental public body, with a new Senior Leadership Team of four new Directors now appointed.  New members of staff have been recruited across a range of roles with a further phase of recruitment is well underway. 

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of SOSE explained: “We are committed to continuing our engagement that we have already undertaken through SOSEP, strengthening the existing relationships across the South of Scotland and beyond as we make real our vision which is to establish the South of Scotland as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.

“As part of that, there are many strands of work underway.  We have appointed a highly experienced Leadership Team as well as other staff to support our core values which are to be bold, and inspiring for the area. This is an exciting time for the region, and we look forward to further announcements over the coming weeks.”

SOSE have confirmed that they will not have one HQ but instead are committed to be ‘everywhere for everyone’ ensuring their staff are accessible based in offices across the area – initially those hub offices will be in Selkirk, Hawick, Dumfries and Stranraer with additional spokes spread widely. 

Both Professor Griggs and Nick Halfhide revealed that well over 100 visits across the whole region have taken place under SOSEP over the last two years with businesses, organisations and partners in order to gain a good understanding of the needs of communities to build into SOSE’s operational plans for going forward. 

Nick Halfhide, Interim Chief Executive of SOSE added: “We are committed to enhancing the collaboration which continues to be successful under South of Scotland Economic Partnership which was set up to pave the way for SOSE. We will be maintaining the momentum of SOSEP and support diverse thinking from diverse communities and businesses.

“Following engagement and consultation, we have made some key decisions around our vision and aims which is to work with the people and communities across the South of Scotland to grow the economy. SOSE will be providing investment, expertise and mentoring and inspire the region to think bigger and unlock significant opportunities for all.

“Of course we will need time to evolve and grow the same as any other new organisation – but we are making great progress and will be in a great place to continue our consultation with communities officially as SOSE from 1 April.

“We look forward to involving everyone on shaping our operational plan in order to allow us to help anyone and any organisation who can support the economy of the South of Scotland no matter how big or small they are or how they are constituted.”

Senior Leadership Team (SLT) announced

On 7 January it was announced that Nick Halfhide, previously Director of Sustainable Growth at Scottish Natural Heritage, would take up the post of interim CEO for SOSE. Nick joined SOSE on 3 February and is taking forward work to establish SOSE.  The SOSE Senior Leadership team of SOSE under Nick Halfhide have been announced as follows

  • Bryan McGrath, Director of Operations - joins SOSE from Scottish Borders Council where he has held several roles, most recently as Chief Officer of Economic Development.
  • Karen Jackson, Director of Strategy, Partnership and Engagement - joins SOSE from the Scottish Government where she has focused on economic development, including work to develop the new agency.
  • Anthony Daye, Director of Finance - joins SOSE from Skills Development Scotland and will lead on Finance, Internal Audit, Procurement and Legacy.
  • John Evans, Director of Enabling Services – joins SOSE from Visualise where he is CEO and will support the new organisation with Facilities, Information Technology, Services Support and Human Resources.

Full biographies and images of SOSE SLT are coming soon. 

Keep up to date with the SOSE recruitment drive on our webpages.