I have worked in the not-for-profit sector, in arts management, for about 25 years. Few people working in arts management appear to have business qualifications, and I think that is to the detriment of the sector. About eight years ago, Orchestras Live, where I am General Manager, changed its governance structure from an unincorporated association to a charitable limited company. I was asked to take over the secretariat, which had previously been outsourced, and over the next two years completed the ICSA qualification to ensure I was suitably trained for the role.

As a chartered secretary I am able to offer so much more; I now have a much better overview of financial, legal and governance matters and can confidently advise our trustees when to seek specialist advice.

I feel even more engaged with our work, knowing that I can add so much more value to it. I am now also a trustee and secretary of two other charities, one of which is unincorporated; I am currently taking them through the process of becoming a CIO.

Had I not become a chartered secretary I would not have felt I had sufficient expertise to offer my services to these charities as a trustee. I used the ICSA guidance notes extensively when drafting the new governance procedures at Orchestras Live, and going through that process has helped me to guide the governance and many other aspects of the charities where I am a trustee.

Nancy Buchanan ACIS

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