My top five breakout sessions for Annual Conference 2019

NCVO’s 2019 Annual Conference  is happening on 1 April 2019, during our exciting centenary year. At what is an uncertain time for the UK – and by implication the sector – we’ll be looking to the future. If our sector is going to truly respond to the changing needs of communities, we’re going to have go fundamentally rethink what we do, the way we do it, and who is involved. Crucially, we’re going to need a major shift in power.

Our conference team have pulled together a fantastic programme of breakout sessions covering a wide range of topics from governance to digital to impact.

Here are my top five:

1. A1 -Are you adapting fast enough to thrive in the digital age?

If you are already convinced that digital is important, and now want to hear about how other leaders have responded, this session is for you. The workshop will draw out lessons for organisational structure, culture, skills, governance and planning, to help you take practical next steps to thrive in this digital age.

2. A3 – New power: Harnessing the power of others to achieve change

Some may say I’m biased with this choice: it is my session after all! But I am very excited by the discussion we’re going to have.

The Civil Society Futures report makes this challenge to the voluntary sector: we must devolve power, distribute leadership and reconnect with local communities. But how do you do this? How much power are really we willing to give away? How do we take our organisations on this journey? These are some of the questions this panel will consider.

3. B1 – Visions of the future? Where next for civil society and how we are going to get there

At the end of 2018 – the Civil Society Futures Inquiry shared its final findings. It put forward a PACT for civil society, by civil society – shared aspirations for us all to commit to, for the decade ahead and beyond. But what does this mean for your everyday? What does it mean for you personally? Or for your organisations? What is getting in the way of us doing this? This practical session will explore these questions and more.

4. B4 – 21st century leadership: What social sector leaders need to succeed

In this session a panel of voluntary sector experts will share their thoughts on the behaviours, traits and styles needed by high performing leaders to shape the future of the voluntary sector.

5. B6 – Impact? I’m so over it

It’s a good thing to be able to demonstrate the changes that you make as a result of your work. However, impact assessment is not a silver bullet.  In this session the panel will address of range of provocative questions, including why voluntary sector realities must be taken into account when thinking about impact assessment.


You can book your place for the conference now. And, if you do so before 9 February you’ll benefit from the early bird rate.

I hope you have a great break over the festive season. See you in 2019!



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Avatar photo Alex joined NCVO in March 2017 as one of our lead consultants and is now head of networks and influencing. Alex has worked extensively in the youth sector, particularly within international development, and worked with UNICEF, Youth Policy Labs, the National Youth Agency and the British Youth Council. Alex was previously a trustee at Girlguiding UK, The Diana Award and a member of an advisory committee at the CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Alex founded an LBGTQ+ organisation supporting youth activists around the world.

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