It’s been a busy year since our last AGM. We’ve had changes at a senior level, moving from five directors to two – Tim Hencher, Strategic Director of Delivery, and David McNeill, Strategic Director of Development – with a new management structure below that.

In April, we launched our Strategic Plan 2019-22, the result of much engagement with the sector and a wholesale review of what SCVO does. We do many different things, and it might have been logical to hone down what we do to fewer things. But consultation showed us that everything we do is valued by someone and we decided to embrace that diversity and make sure we are doing it all well.

It also resulted in a longer term review of our role as a membership organisation, our offer to members compared to our offer to the wider sector. We intend to bring the fruits of that review to next year’s AGM. In the meantime, our membership continues to grow and I’m particularly pleased to see some members who had left returning to us.

Our service delivery continues to grow too – with more payrollcustomers, more ITcustomers, another successful Gathering, more subscriptions to Third Force News, more adverts placed in Goodmoves and more jobs filled through Community Jobs Scotland. Our information service, training programme and Funding Scotlandsearch engine all continue to be popular – Funding Scotland now has 30,000 subscribers! 

Our digital offer continues to be held up as a shining example of building capacity, inclusion and leadership recognised in Scotland and beyond. We have also managed around £1million of grants to the sector on behalf of Scottish Government over the past 12 months.

This year the Scottish Parliament celebrated its 20th birthday. The voluntary sector has had a huge influence on policy-making and legislation under every administration since 1999 and we recognised that with the publication of our limited edition book, ‘Charities, Scotland & Holyrood: Twenty Years Delivering Change.‘ There continues to be a good working relationship between the sector and both Scottish and local government in Scotland, and we can and do challenge robustly as well as working collaboratively to build better policy and legislation.

Members of the SCVO Policy Forum has been working on a manifesto to influence all the political parties in the run up to the 2021 Scottish elections to help us influence collectively on the issues that matter across the sector, as well as individual organisations or specialist intermediary organisations influencing on the issues that matter to them.  Maximising our collective voice makes a difference to us all, and to the people of Scotland who interact with the voluntary sector in many forms every day.

Finally, I’m pleased to see our partnerships with other organisations building. For example, with Volunteer Scotland on the Saltire Awards, with Social Enterprise Scotland on the National Investment Bank and the Gathering, and with colleagues across the UK on digital.

At our 76th AGM recently we elected three new trustees – Pauline Lunn, James Adams and Manish Joshi – and said thank you and fond farewell to outgoing trustees Michelle Carruthers, Eliot Stark and Graham Curran.