Annual Report 2020-21
Click here to view our Annual Report, 2020-2021.
Professor Heather Cubie, MBE, FRSE
Who would have believed as we started the year 2020-2021 that we would still be facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic at the end and well into 2021-2022? It is through the hard work, effort and ingenuity of all members of the SMP staff team that they have risen to these challenges and delivered a year of digital engagement, with a much higher proportion of Malawian attendees than is possible in face-to-face meetings. To their great credit, there are some outstanding examples of working together through crises, where equal and respectful partnership is at the core, in line with SMP’s long-established Partnership Principles.
Not surprisingly therefore, we decided it was more appropriate to embed our 2020-21 Annual Report on the website rather than produce a physical document, allowing us to share information in as inclusive, accessible and as transparent a manner as possible. I hope you enjoy dipping into this digital Annual Report and if you like more than sound-bites, delve into the detail by clicking on any links that whet your appetite for more.
As Chair of the Board of Trustees it has been a great privilege to work with the Team, but I have missed meeting up with them and look forward to a mix of activities next year which combine the best of digital and face-to-face meetings.
The SMP responded well to the challenges and changes that Covid-19 brought. We moved the staff team quickly to homeworking and developed a detailed Covid-19 Response Strategy, Risk Register and Implementation Plan.
We have been in constant dialogue with our members and partners, to understand the dynamic situation and what SMP support would be most valuable. Specifically, in 2020-21 we:
- Hosted 13 major Covid-19 coordination Zoom meetings, working with the Malawi Presidential Covid taskforce, often at a Ministerial level, with a total attendance of over 1,465.
- Supported 21 Scotland-Malawi Covid fundraising appeals, leveraging donations from across the UK, with many of these funds reporting they have exceeded targets.
- Established a Scotland-Malawi Oxygen Supply Coordination Group and hosted our own appeal, raising over £40,000 for emergency support.
- Created a Covid digital web-hub for the sharing of news, resources and information.
- Agreed Scotland-Malawi Covid-19 Response Principles of Best Practice for funders and NGOs, after consultations across Scotland and Malawi.
- Provided Covid coordination services taken up by 641 different organisations and individuals, 94% of whom said this strengthened their work with Malawi.
Other notable successes in this period included:
- 35 SMP digital events/engagements and 13 co-hosted engagements, attended by 2,935 people, with 635 giving feedback, of whom 95.7% described our work as “excellent” or “very good”.
- Youth Festival, with a week of digital engagements (webinars, podcasts, school resources, social media takeovers, etc), reaching over 250,000.
- 481 positive impact statements from named individuals (NGO/community leaders etc) outlining how they have benefitted from the SMP’s core funded work.
- Close working and mutual support with MaSP, including support for the 2050 partnership.
- Significantly increased diversity and inclusion, with one third of SMP event attendees from BAME backgrounds and a 53% female:47% male gender balance
- All feedback targets exceeded.
- An independent expert review concluding the SMP has achieved/exceeded what the SG has core funded and praising the SMP’s response to Covid.
- 106 points of engagement/support/endorsement from political leaders, including the President of Malawi, the First Minister, Scottish Party Leaders, MSPs and MPs.
- A widely praised joint MaSP and SMP Black Lives Matter response.
- 13 Chichewa classes delivered online.
- Significant digital communications success in Q3 and Q4, with 51 videos produced, viewed 17,151 times.
- Major digital projects developed, to be launched/completed in Q1 2021/22, including new SMP website and 10-part ‘People to People’ podcast.
- Member Forums and other digital engagements, often with the relevant Minister / senior official attending to engage members.
- Strong engagements around key themes of race and equality, and climate change.
Events and engagements
In 2020/21 the SMP hosted 35 events attended by 1,966 people and a further 13 SMP co-hosted events attended by 969 people, with a total overall attendance of 2,935. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all events took place digitally, mostly on Zoom.
2020/21 SMP Events:
- Covid Coordination meeting 2: 24/04/2020 (74 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 3: 13/05/2020 (96 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 5 03/06/2020 (106 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 1, session 1 11/06/2020 (15 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 1, session 2 18/06/2020 (15 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 1, session 3 25/06/2020 (15 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 6 01/07/2020 (98 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 1, session 4 02/07/2020 (15 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 1, session 5 09/07/2020 (15 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 1, session 6 16/07/2020 (15 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 8 29/07/2020 (108 attendees)
- Faith Forum 27/08/2020 (47 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 9 03/09/2020 (120 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 1 10/09/2020 (14 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 2 17/09/2020 (14 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 3 24/09/2020 (14 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 4 01/10/2020 (14 attendees)
- SMP AGM (and Covid meeting 10): 03/10/2020 (394 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 5 08/10/2020 (14 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 6 29/10/2020 (14 attendees)
- Chichewa Challenge 2, session 7 22/10/2020 (14 attendees)
- 'Malawi@COP26' Meeting 2: 05/11/2020 (53 attendees)
- Education Forum: 03/12/2020 (51 attendees)
- Roundtable with British High Commissioner: 14/12/2020 (64 attendees)
- 'Malawi@COP26' Meeting 3: 14/01/2021 (56 attendees)
- Youth and Schools Forum: 26/01/2021 (86 attendees)
- Oxygen Supply Coordination Group: 02/02/2021 (26 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 13: 23/02/2021 (79 attendees)
- Young Voices on Climate Change: 16/03/2021 (42 attendees)
- Young Voices on Race and Equality: 17/03/2021 (35 attendees)
- Meet the Youth Leaders 1: 17/03/2021 (41 attendees)
- Young Voices on Climate Justice: 18/03/2021 (57 attendees)
- Meet the Youth Leaders 2: 18/03/2021 (38 attendees)
- Meet the Youth Leaders 3: 19/03/2021 (63 attendees)
- SMP Extraordinary General Meeting: 24/03/2021 (44 attendees)
Total attendance: 1,966
2020/21 SMP Co-Hosted Events:
- Covid Coordination meeting 4 w/ Alliance 21/05/2020 (15 booked through SMP)
- Schools Forum w/ HOWDEC 27/05/2020 (14 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 7 (CPG/APPG) 06/07/2020 (51 attendees)
- Malawi Cross Party Group (CPG): 23/09/2020 (46 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 11 (APPG): 28/10/2020 (49 attendees)
- Malawi CPG - Malawi’s youth voice on climate: 18/11/2020 (69 attendees)
- Book Launch – ‘Politics, Christianity and Society in Malawi’: 28/11/2020 (38 attendees)
- MaSP AGM: 11/12/2021 (67 attendees)
- Covid Coordination meeting 12 (CPG/APPG) 25/01/2020 (296 attendees)
- MaSP Youth Forum: 23/02/2021 (49 attendees)
- Book Launch: ‘The Spirit of Malawi’: 25/02/2021 (165 attendees)
- MaSP Symposium: 11/03/2021 (65 attendees)
- Equity and Diversity at COP26 Webinar: 26/03/2021 (45 attendees)
Total attendance: 969
Covid-19 Strategic response
The Covid-19 pandemic presented a significant challenge to Scotland and Malawi, and consequently for the SMP. The Partnership moved quickly from mid-March 2020 to disseminate news and information to Members and to prepare itself for an extended period of home-working. The migration to home-working worked well overall, with all staff supported to work from home, and face-to-face meetings and engagements successfully moved to digital platforms.
The Board of Directors recognised from the outset the sheer scale of the crisis. The fact that Scotland-Malawi links have been so significantly disrupted, and the fact that it will not be possible to convene face-to-face meetings for so long, all meant that significant strategic thought was required. It was not enough to simply move existing SMP plans unthinkingly to digital platforms. Instead, the SMP consulted members and thought afresh what support, services and advice it should most usefully be offering its members in this challenging new reality.
The SMP published in May 2020 a ‘Covid-19 Response Strategy’ outlining four key strategic priorities which will underpin its work through the coming year:
- CONTINUITY: We will adapt and evolve our current work and plans to ensure business continuity, wherever this desirable, appropriate and possible.
- SUPPORT: We will deliver additional, tailored support to those affected by the crisis, including: members, those in Malawi, travel partners, and our staff.
- INNOVATION: We recognise that there are many challenges but also opportunities, including to develop innovative new digital modes of support and sharing. We will specifically look to develop innovative new services and support for school and youth groups who have had to cancel long-planned Malawi trips.
- INSPIRATION: We will look to inspire our members, the public and the media with stories of Scotland-Malawi collaboration, to keep members’ spirits up and ensure we remain an outward-looking country, investing in the future of our 160-year old friendship with Malawi.
Other Major (non-Covid) Outputs
While supporting and coordinating the joint Covid-19 response was the main focus of the SMP in this year, the charity also had a number of our significant outputs in support of the bilateral relationship and its members work, including:
- ‘Chichewa Challenge’: We worked to support our members to use their time while locked down and working from home to improve their Malawi language skills. These digital courses were delivered by a Malawian and a Scottish teacher, together, offering language tuition but also cultural insights for those planning to visit Malawi after restrictions are eased.
- Member Forums: We brought together members digitally around specific thematic areas to disseminate information, share members’ learning and experience, and listen to colleagues in Malawi. These included a Faith Forum, an Education Forum (with the Malawian Minister of Education), a Health Forum (with the Minister for Health), and others.
- Member Roundtable Meetings: We hosted a number of roundtable digital meetings for Members to meet key decision-makers and stakeholders in the bilateral relationship including, for example, the new British High Commissioner to Malawi and the Scottish Government’s International Development Minister.
- David Livingstone Legacy videos: We have a long-term partnership with the David Livingstone Birthplace Centre in Blantyre, Scotland, and have been working together to ensure a diverse range of views about Livingstone’s legacy are well represented at the newly refurbished Centre, which is due to open later in 2021. We were commissioned by the Centre to produce 32 short videos from a diverse range of Malawians, Zambians, Scots and others from nations visited by Livingstone, sharing their views on his legacy. We have actively sought to highlight alternative assessments of Dr Livingstone’s legacy, both positive and negative, such that we do not fall back on a single narrative of our shared history or risk air brushing more challenging elements of our history.
- Years of Governance Strengthening: We made 2020 our ‘Year of Governance Strengthening’ and decided to extend this to include all of 2021 given Covid-related delays in the project. Malawi had significant success in this area in 2020: it was named The Economist’s ‘Country of the Year’ due to the fact that research found Malawi was the only country to have strengthened its governance in 2020, whereas 80 nations had had their democracies weakened through the pandemic. Through this year the SMP worked to develop all three strands of its ‘Years of Governance Strengthening’ campaign: strengthening its own governance with a new constitution; supporting members to strengthen their organisational governance; and developing new channels to strengthen governance in innovative ways, in both nations, through the bilateral relationship. In this third strand, the SMP developed a major new initiative with leading Malawian academics and in 2021/22 will be launching a major governance programme structured around a significant peer-reviewed Malawian publication on governance strengthening, sponsored by the SMP.
- COP26: With COP26, the global climate change conference, taking place in Glasgow, and Malawi chairing the LDC (Least Developed Countries) Group, the bilateral relationship has a prominent role at this key conference. In consultation with members and partners in Malawi, the SMP has developed a ‘Malawi at COP26’ strategy which aims to: give meaningful voice and visibility to Malawi at COP26 and, in so doing, raise awareness of Scotland’s links with Malawi, promote our Members’ work, and support climate justice in Malawi. Through 2020/21 the SMP worked to deliver this strategy, including starting to collect 26 x ‘COP26 Voices’ videos, of young Malawians and young Scots setting out their priorities for the conference. COP26 is also a key part of the ‘People to People’ podcast series and was a core focus throughout the SMP’s Youth Festival. The SMP is developing a major event, to hopefully take place during COP26, in the Glasgow City Chambers with the President and First Minister and is also looking at how it can practically support the Malawi delegation through the conference.
- SMP AGM with the President and First Minister: Malawi was rightly praised for its successful May 2021 re-run Presidential election, in which H.E. Lazarus Chakwera was elected. This was the first time in Africa a court-ordered Presidential election was re-run with the incumbent not winning. The new President accepted his ex officio role as SMP Hon Co-Patron (alongside HRH The Princess Royal) in a special video address he gave for the SMP’s October 2020 AGM, which was attended by over 250 SMP members. He also used this address to share his priorities for the bilateral relationship, which the SMP is actively stepping up to and encouraging others to as well, in keeping with our core principles. The First Minister of Scotland also recorded a special video message to help open our AGM, alongside the President.
- ‘People to People’ Podcast: We commissioned and developed a major new digital project in 2020/21, a ten-part podcast series co-produced and co-hosted by an inspiring young, female Malawian (Chimzy Dorey) and an inspiring, young, female Scot (Hazel Darwin-Clements). The series interviews dozens of key stakeholders in the bilateral relationship, presenting their voices in an innovative and engaging way, and making best use of new technologies. They are listening to, and amplifying, as many different and diverse voices as possible, exploring themes including: understanding our past; what is good partnership; exploring privilege; fighting the climate crisis; and much more. The series was launched in May 2021, with episodes released weekly.
- Political engagements: The SMP maintained its party political neutrality, while constructively engaging both the Scottish and UK Parliaments to represent our members’ interests and advance the bilateral relationship. In Westminster, we continued to facilitate the Malawi All-Party Parliamentary Group, with regular digital meetings bringing together MPs and Peers with an interest with Malawi, including for a special Malawi Independence Day meeting on the 6th
July 2020. In Holyrood, we facilitated the Malawi Cross Party Group, with regular meetings and constructive engagements with all five parties. We briefed all 129 MSPs and 59 Scottish MPs on our members’ work in their constituencies/regions, using our newly updated Holyrood and Westminster directories. In advance of the May 2021 Holyrood elections, we worked with all the major parties, receiving public messages of support from all the new Party Leaders, and -for the first time ever- securing positive references to Malawi in the manifestos of all five parties with seats in Holyrood. In total, the SMP had 106 points of engagement/support/endorsement from political leaders, including the President of Malawi, the First Minister, Scottish Party Leaders, MSPs and MPs in 2020/21.
- Youth Festival: The SMP’s biggest event in 2020/21 was its Digital Youth Festival, which replaced the usual in-person annual Youth Congress. Despite all the significant challenges, of schools being almost entirely unable to engage due to the unprecedent pressures they faced, this was a fantastic success for the Partnership. Over 250,000 people were engaged in this week of SMP youth-led digital engagements, which included: podcasts, webinars, social media take overs, Facebook lives, digital dance and language competitions, and much more. Race and equality, and climate change were the main themes of the Youth Festival and the SMP’s Youth Committee led with the design and delivery of all aspects of the week, ensuring an authentic youth-led feel to all we did.
- Digital media: Above and beyond the many digital events hosted by the SMP, the Partnership was also active across different digital channels to disseminate its messaging, share its core narrative (of dignified two-way partnerships and mass civic engagement) and reach new audiences. 53 email bulletins were sent to members, which were read over 14,000 times, and the SMP website had over 85,000 page views from over 26,000 new visitors. The Partnership also developed an entirely new website which was launched in May 2021. The SMP had over 920,000 Twitter impressions (with over 6,000 followers) and a reach on Facebook of over 320,000. 51 videos were produced by the SMP in the year, viewed over 17,000 times in total, and there were 135 features relating to Malawi in the Scottish media, 93% of which were positive in tone.
Diversity and inclusion
The SMP and its sister Malawian network, the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP), together co-published a joint commitment to black lives matter in June 2020. This statement received praise from across the sector, including from a Minister speaking in Parliament and in a new book published by a former MP on Scottish internationalism.
Both the SMP and MaSP are anti-racist and anti-prejudice: we stand in solidarity with those who fight racism, in all its forms, in both Scotland and Malawi. We recognise that, in the fight against racism, silence is not acceptable and we are proud to make this joint statement to call-out and oppose racism.
We continue to work closely with Malawian and Scottish historians to better understand our 162-year shared history, both good and bad.
For all the many challenges of the Covid-19, the move to digital engagements has brought a number of advantages for the SMP, most notably the ability to welcome a larger and more diverse audience. The SMP has always prided itself on its inclusive approach but, too often in the past, in-person events have excluded many people for very practical reasons of geography.
All 35 SMP events in 2020/21 and all 13 co-hosted engagements took place online, allowing far greater inclusivity, with people able to join right across Scotland and Malawi.
One third of all those who attended SMP meetings in 2020/21 were Malawians (with a total gender balance of 53% female:47% male) and the overwhelming majority of those attending our sister network’s meetings were Malawian. This meant that, for the first time, the majority of people taking part in events talking about the bilateral relationship were Malawians and not Scots. Indeed, one meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Malawi Cross Party Group facilitated by the SMP in this period, had 75% of attendees joining from Malawi!
We very much welcome the inclusivity and diversity that this technology offers the SMP: this is entirely in line with our principles and values. However, we recognise that power, connectivity and adequate bandwidth are not readily available for all in Malawi. Malawi has some of the most expensive internet provision in the world. We are therefore committed to increasing digital inclusivity and continue to work actively with our sister network in Malawi to offer increasing practical support with connectivity (covering the cost of airtime, supporting access to IT hardware, etc).
In the April 2021 member feedback survey, 93% of respondents said the SMP offers a welcoming, diverse and inclusive space for people to engage. All these events have taken place in the spirit of equal and respectful partnership.
Becoming a SCIO
The Scotland Malawi Partnership has been a Company Limited by Guarantee (SC294378) and a registered Scottish Charity (SC037048). When it was established, some 15 years ago, SCIOs (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations) did not exist and companies limited by guarantee were deemed best practice. Since then, SCIOs have been developed precisely for charities such as ours.
In keeping with our ‘Years of Governance Strengthening’ work, early in 2020/21 the Board examined the best structure to take the SMP forward into the future. It considered revisions to the SMP’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) but, at the conclusion of the review, the Board decided it would be most appropriate for the SMP to become a SCIO. SCIOs do not have an MAA but they do have a Constitution.
The main reason for the Board favouring becoming a SCIO is that this removes one layer of governance (Companies House) while retaining the important features of limited liability and charitable status. Indeed, a SCIO can only exist as long as it remains a charity. It also removes the necessity of members contributing to the assets of SMP in the event of it ceasing to function (currently £1 per member.
At the October 2020 AGM, Members voted unanimously for the Partnership to become a SCIO. The SMP then developed a draft constitution which Members were consulted on in the autumn and then an EGM was held in March 2021, at which the decision was finalised.
From 1st April 2021 the SMP has become a SCIO called “The Scotland Malawi Partnership SCIO” and, through the coming months, will complete the migration of its systems and, ultimately, winding up the old Company Limited by Guarantee (SC294378) and a registered Scottish Charity (SC037048).
This change in constitutional status and new constitution will not affect the SMP’s operational work and all existing staff and directors will continue unaffected into this new legal structure (the Directors will be known as Trustees).
Member Needs and Impact Survey
Every year the SMP conducts a Membership Needs and Impact Survey, asking members what impact the SMP has had on their work with Malawi over the last year, and what members would like the SMP to do to support their work in the following year. In keeping with our core principles of transparency and accountability, and as a member-led organisation, we publicly share the full results of the survey.
96 SMP Members completed the online survey in April 2021. 80% of respondents felt that membership of the SMP in 2020-21 “helped strengthen, support or develop their links with Malawi”. The most common words used when members described the SMP’s impact were: “essential”, “invaluable”, “understanding” and “Malawi voices”. The overwhelming majority of respondents felt all the SMP’s strategic objectives had been met in 2020-21 (ranging from 92% to 100%).
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with particular praise for the SMP in relation to: Covid-19 response coordination work, information dissemination, guidance on appropriate support, networking and support for collaborations, youth engagements, digital innovations increasing inclusivity and amplifying Malawian voices, inspiration and positivity, helping members see the big picture, and access to senior government representatives.
To read the full results of the Member Needs and Impact survey, visit: www.tinyurl.com/SMPreview21
Feedback from Enquiries Handled
The SMP logged 117 enquiries in 2020-21, this is a selection of all enquiries handled by the SMP. From this sample, a good range of different enquiries were handled, from members and the public, Malawi and Scotland, and with an approximate 60%:40% female:male gender balance.
31% of those who had an enquiry logged by the SMP completed a survey at the end of the year asking how they felt about the service they received.
Over 72% of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with the SMP’s handling of their enquiry and 14% “moderately” satisfied. Most respondents gave positive feedback and there is some extremely strong feedback, from those who feel the SMP’s support was invaluable, but there was also a reasonable number who said the impact of the SMP’s response to their enquiry was “none” or “negligible”. Anecdotally, this seems to be mostly from enquiries asking about financial support from Malawi.
Overall, we can reasonably conclude that, while there are some areas where we could further improve, the SMP has continued to offer a valued enquiry handling service in 2020-21, despite the significant challenges and pressures of homeworking.
CLICK HERE to read the full results of this survey.
Delivery against core-funded objectives
The SMP receives core funding from the Scottish Government on a triennial basis. It reports fully every six months to government and, given this is public money, also chooses to share reporting publicly.
In the current 2020-23 core funding grant, the SMP has 69 targets in the ‘logical framework’ monitoring approach that has been agreed with the Scottish Government. In the review of 2020-21 the SMP was found to have achieved the below results, despite the challenges of Covid-19 and home working:
- 64 (93%) indicators rated “Green” (target met or exceeded);
- 5 (7%) indicators rated “Amber” (target missed but within 25%);
- 0 (0%) indicators rated “Red” (target missed by more than 25%).
We are indebted to successive Scottish Governments for the support the SMP has received. While we have succeeded in diversifying our income to a some degree e.g. through member fees, commercial agreements and grants from other sources, it would not be possible for the SMP to achieve all it does without this far-sighted and long-term support from the Scottish Government.
CLICK HERE to view the full results of the 2020-21 logical framework review.
Independent Expert Review
Above and beyond the reporting required for the Scottish Government the SMP choses to also commission an external expert review assessing the impact of its work, to ensure it continues to develop and improve its work. In 2020-21 this review was conducted by the Corra Foundation, a highly respected Scottish foundation with considerable experience of both distributing and assessing the effectiveness of charitable grants. assessors in the sector.
The review concluded that the SMP has:
- successfully delivered on the pre-set outcome milestones for the 2020-2021 year of implementation,
- been able to meet those milestones despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected both member engagement and staff capacities, and,
- additionally, been able to meaningfully respond to the new needs of members in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This assessment has found good evidence of progress in relation to the logframe for almost all indicators at impact, outcome and output level, with many exceeded and none judged as significantly missed, particularly when performance against complementary indicators is taken into consideration. … As noted above, the SMP’s response to the new restrictions and new needs resulting from the pandemic should be seen as a significant achievement that has helped mutual understanding and assistance among stakeholders in both Malawi and Scotland.
CLICK HERE To read the full Corra Foundation external expert impact review.
A total of £308,749 was received in 2020-21, comprising:
- £237,939 of core funding received from the Scottish Government for the SMP’s core operation
- £1,200 of restricted income received from various sources
- £29,111 of unrestricted income received from various sources, including membership subscriptions
- £40,500 of Covid Oxygen appeal funding
- £37 received in bank interest
A total of £302,188 was expended in 2020-21. The largest areas of expenditure were:
- SMP employment costs of £207,711. This is made up of salaries and wages of £179,502 and on-costs including NI costs of £17,134 and pension costs of £11,075
- £18,252 was spent on events and other operational activities
- £38,491 was spent on the delivery of Covid Oxygen support in Malawi (with all remaining funds spent early in 2021/22)
A full copy of the SMP’s Annual Accounts for the 12-month period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 is available on request.
The SMP’s work is largely dependent on grants from the Scottish Government. Other grants and donations are received from time to time, mostly for specific restricted purposes.
In 2020-21, we continued to diversify our sources income, with new corporate partnerships, grant funding and project income. This was somewhat hampered by the impact of Covid-19 on the Scottish economy.
The total undesignated, unrestricted reserves at the year-end amounted to £95,553 (2020: £78,998). Restricted reserves are £13,547 (2020: £29,725).
In 2020-21, the SMP was underspent both in its core grant funded work and work funded from the SMP’s unrestricted income. This was due to the impact of Covid-19, with no overseas or UK travel, office working or in-person events being possible. At the Scottish Government’s request £4,598 was returned to the Scottish Government at the start of quarter 4, as this was the forecast level of grant underspend.
Most in-person event costs were able to be re-allocated to digital alternatives within the same budget lines, to achieve the same overall outcomes. For example, instead of an in-person Youth Congress the SMP had a Digital Youth Festival. Some of the in-person member engagement costs were replaced with the ‘People to People’ Podcast commission which looked to engage members in an innovative digital discussion, representing their work and exploring key themes around the bilateral relationship.