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Good Governance Awards Launch 2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 11:00 to 12:15

Lessons on charity governance through a pandemic.

The VSB Foundation are pleased to announce the launch of the 2021 Good Governance Awards for Northern Ireland.  Delivered in partnership with CO3 and Volunteer Now.

The Good Governance Awards will showcase how good governance and driving social change are essentially interlinked and will provide an opportunity to celebrate what is best in the sector.

This is your opportunity to raise the profile of your board and be awarded £1000 to further invest into your governance development.  Each nomination received also receives two complimentary places for their Trustees on the CO3 Trustee Network.

To mark the launch, we are holding a panel discussion “ Lessons on charity governance through a pandemic”.  We will hear a range of views and reflections from the panel on what Covid-19 has taught us about governance as well as looking at changes in charity governance post pandemic.

Our panellists include:

Frances McCandless, CEO, Charity Commission NI 

Frances was appointed to the Commission in April 2010 as its first Chief Executive. Prior to taking up this post, Frances was employed as Director of Policy at NICVA, an umbrella body which provides advice, information and policy analysis to the voluntary and community sector.

Frances’s career in the voluntary and community sector goes back nearly 30 years and she has worked with young people, women returning to work, in housing, with older and disabled people and as an international volunteer in Prague with the YMCA.  She has also been a board member of organisations working in the areas of environment, ethnic minorities, reconciliation, community arts, audience development, mediation and physical activity.

Frances has a BA (Hons) from University College, Oxford, an MPhil from Trinity College, Dublin and a Diploma in Public Administration from Warwick Business School, where she has also taught and been an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Governance and Public Management.


Margaret Henry, CEO, Thrive Audience Development 

Margaret Henry leads the overall strategic planning and direction of Thrive Audience Development working in the cultural sector across NI. She is responsible for developing partnerships, delivering good governance, impact and sustainability. She has extensive strategic marketing, branding and change leadership experience across the public and cultural sectors. She joined thrive in 2014 from the BBC where she held a number of senior marketing and planning roles in NI and GB.

Prior to working in the BBC, Margaret worked in the cultural sector for both the Old Museum arts centre and the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in marketing roles. Margaret has served on a number of Boards including the Old Museum arts centre (now the MAC), Building Change Trust, Tinderbox Theatre Company and chaired the Clifton House Conversations facilitated by CENI to develop a new Impact Route Map for the Voluntary & Community sector in NI.  Margaret is co-founder of the Arts Collaboration Network, an informal group of cultural sector support organisations and creative hubs across NI who collaborate to find more effective ways of delivering and advocate for support for the cultural sector to ensure it survives to contribute to the social and economic recovery of NI.

Margaret is also an accredited AoEC Executive Coach.

Margaret lives in Bangor and is married to Alan and has two step sons.  In her spare time she does yoga, reading, walking on the beach and when possible, going to a range of cultural events.


John Williams, Vice-Chair, Association of Chairs 

John is Vice Chair of the Association of Chairs, a membership organisation set up in 2013 to support Chairs of charities and other non-profits in their governance and leadership role, mainly in England and Wales.  It does this through events, workshops, training and publications, as well as bringing Chairs together to learn from each other.

John has a professional background in corporate communications and marketing.      

Since then, he has taken on a number of advisory and non-executive roles, notably in the charity sector, focusing particularly on leadership and governance. He served as a Charity Commissioner for England and Wales for five years up to 2010; was Chair of the governance and leadership think tank Tomorrow’s Company; and Deputy Chair of ChildLine up to its merger with the NSPCC.  He has also chaired the regional tourism board Tourism South East, and a commercial theatre production company he co-founded. 

John is a longstanding board member at Business in the Community and was until recently a trustee of the Institute of Business Ethics where he now serves on the International Advisory Council.  In addition, today John acts as a charity governance consultant and a pro bono mentor of charity Chairs and CEOs



How To Take Part

Date: Thursday 18 March 2021

Time: 11:00am - 12:15pm

Location: Remotely

Registration for this event is now closed. 

To take part you will need access to an internet connection and smart device or computer. You will receive the joining instructions before the event takes place

Technical support will be on hand from the CO3 team.  If you experience any issues or initial questions about attending virtually. Contact us