November 13, 2017 : Pat Armstrong

Trustees Week and the Governance Forum

Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum was set up in 2009 after a roundtable meeting to discuss findings from study into leadership and governance that showed that boards consistently rated their organisational effectiveness higher that the CEO and staff of the organisation. 

At the discussion we looked at what development opportunities were available to trustees and found that although there was a plethora of training courses and consultancy support, there was no platform for boards and chairs to come together for peer support and good practice sharing, and also no overarching space for discussion on the governance issues in Scotland (a trustee network and association of chairs as well as a governance magazine were all in operation south of the border).

So a few of us working in this area decided to keep working together and the forum was born.

The remit for the Forum is to:

  • Advance thinking on governance and issues of governance support and development through a “think tank” approach
  • Share and discuss emerging issues and examples of good practice
  • Act as a conduit of information and intelligence on governance across the wider sector
  • Highlight examples of collaborative practice and joined up working
  • Promote active leadership on governance issues
  • Develop a shared bank of governance related information and links to wider resources
  • Influence and help shape policy on governance issues

We’ve worked together over the years to debate some of the key issues, learn from each other and keep good governance on the agenda. One of the things we are most proud of is developing trustee week in Scotland which has grown from a small conference of just over 50 delegates in 2013 to now two conferences (Inverness on 13th Nov and Edinburgh on 15th) with a reach to around 300 trustees. The demand has evidenced the need for more opportunities for trustees to come together in a safe space for peer support and good practice sharing and to consider what good governance means for them and their organisations. We hope to continue expanding our offerings to meet demand.

I’ve chaired the forum since its inception and my initial reason for being involved is that as my day job as Chief Exec of ACOSVO (Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations) our members are the main conduit to working with the board and the link between the strategic and operational – so good governance links perfectly with our vision of “Excellent Third Sector Leadership in Scotland.”

We’re now at an exciting stage in the development of the forum and possible plans include; developing a good governance code, developing a chairs network and a possible event at The Gathering 2018 – watch this space!

Further info on the forum along with current members can be found here.



Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Pat Armstrong