ACOSVO & Lindsays lead celebration of Third Sector leadership

The strength, innovation and importance of leadership in Scotland’s Third Sector was celebrated at an event hosted by law firm Lindsays and the Association of Chief Offciers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO). 


More than 100 guests representing 80 organisations attended the firm’s annual Third Sector Drinks Reception, held at The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh last night (Wednesday, February 5), to discuss issues emerging for this year and beyond.


Attendees heard from some of the most important figures in the field, with speeches from Pat Armstrong OBE, Chief Executive, ACOSVO, Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), and Calum Irving, who heads the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Unit.


They were introduced by one of Lindsays’ charity law experts, David Dunsire, a well-known figure to many across the sector.


Speaking afterwards, David Dunsire said: “It’s no secret that this sector - like so many others - faces some significant challenges, particularly over the way forward for Brexit, future funding and budget delays.  We are all watching with interest to see how the results of last year’s Scottish Government consultation on charity law changes will manifest.

“What I have seen first-hand through many years of advising in this sphere, however, is that its leaders are unafraid of a challenge, resilient, adaptable and face any issues which emerge head-on.

“Funding challenges and the need for good governance will continue to be important during 2020, but it was evident at the reception that with the high quality of its leadership, the sector across Scotland will seize new opportunities and work tirelessly to look forward with optimism.”


Lindsays is a strategic partner of ACOSVO, which provides invaluable support to all of its members.


Each of the speakers spoke of the vital roles played by leaders of the voluntary sector and praised the wide-ranging impact of their work. They also answered questions from the audience.


Pat Armstrong, Chief Executive of ACOSVO, told guests: “We are the leaders of Scotland’s third sector and we need to own that role. This is not a dress rehearsal. Everyone in this room is making an amazing difference to the people of Scotland and beyond.”


Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, said: “The challenges which face us have never been bigger than they are now, whether in global terms or at a local level. Leaders do need to be resilient, but opportunities are similarly huge. Scotland is a small country with big ambition. The voluntary sector is contributing to that ambition.”


Ahead of taking to the stage, Calum Irving, Head of Third Sector Unit at the Scottish Government, said: “The Scottish Government recognises the valuable role of third sector leaders as agents for change. They are important partners in delivering for our communities.”