Training and consultancy on governance and law
for the voluntary sector
"Your training session still remains the most enjoyable, appropriate and useful one which I have ever attended."
SANDY ADIRONDACK has been a freelance trainer and consultant in the voluntary sector since 1980, working primarily on governance issues with a wide range of charities, campaigns and community-based organisations. Her main specialisms are legal aspects of voluntary sector governance and management and helping boards become more effective.
She writes widely about voluntary sector governance and management. Her best known books, all referred to as "voluntary sector bibles", are Just About Managing? Effective management for voluntary organisations and community groups (first published in 1989 and now in its 4th edition), The Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (published in 1996 and 2001) and The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook, the 3rd edition of VSLH (published in September 2009).
Initially, her freelance work was primarily with individual organisations to help them with their administration, fundraising, publicity and publications. By 1981 her experience in campaigning over the previous two decades had been distilled into Peaceworking: A campaigning guide for local groups and in 1982 she edited and contributed to Martin Jelfs' Manual for Action: Techniques to enable social change groups to increase their effectiveness.
Later that year she developed a 10-evening course for the Workers Educational Association, on "Running a community organisation". She still, nearly 30 years on, offers a similar 10-evening course, usually organised by councils for voluntary service or a local authority.
The majority of her work is now open training on a wide range of legal and governance topics. Training is provided for councils for voluntary service and other local infrastructure support organisations, and many national and local umbrella and voluntary sector support agencies. Her main courses are Board/Management Committee Roles and Responsibilities, Legal Structures and Charitable Status, Charity and Company Law Update, Considering Incorporation, Reviewing your Constitution, Legal Responsibilities of Voluntary Organisations, Legal Update for Voluntary Organisations, Introduction to Employment Law, Volunteers and the Law, and Risk Assessment and Management for Small Organisations. For a full list of her training topics see open training.
She also runs courses on these topics specifically designed for CVS and other second tier and local authority infrastructure support workers who have to advise and support organisations, and provides training about the voluntary sector for local authorities and other funders.
Her in-house training for individual organisations, ranging from tiny local groups to national organisations, covers the topics above and more. It is always tailored very specifically to the organisation, and always includes a report with recommendations and suggestions, and support in implementing the recommendations.
She also undertakes consultancies to help with in-depth problems, board effectiveness and other governance issues, organisational restructuring, constitutional reviews, incorporation and other major changes.
As well as training and consultancy she provides non-managerial supervision or mentoring on a one-to-one basis, and facilitation of discussion sessions and awaydays to help groups identify and resolve problems, review achievements and/or plan for the future. Groups always receive a detailed written report on the facilitated sessions.
She writes extensively and is well known for her many publications about local organising, voluntary sector governance and management, and how the law affects voluntary organisations. Her free legal update email service for voluntary organisations is widely used and respected.
She has a BA cum laude in liberal arts with majors in sociology and journalism from Syracuse University (1965) in the United States. Prior to starting freelance work in 1980 she worked as a social psychology researcher on community care (mid-1960s), in academic microfilm publishing (1972-76), and as coordinator of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (1975-80). Alongside her early voluntary sector freelance work, she also worked part-time as a sub-editor in financial publishing from 1983-85.
From 1991-2015 she was a convenor of the Management Development Network, a network of freelance management and governance trainers and consultants who work primarily or exclusively with voluntary organisations. She was on the advisory committee for PEACe, the Personnel Employment Advice and Conciliation service at London Voluntary Service Council for many years, and was an external examiner for Goldsmiths College's voluntary sector management courses for three years.
During the 1960s she was actively involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements in the United States, and after moving to the UK in 1968 remained actively involved in peace organisations for many years, including serving as an executive committee member of the National Peace Council for most of the time from 1981 to 1998, and as a trustee and secretary of a peace movement educational charity, the United World Education and Research Trust, from 1980 until it was wound up in 2006. She was secretary of her tenants and residents association from 2001-2006 and remains actively involved with local activities.
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Graphic © 1998 Steve Simpson