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  • Membership
  • ACO Network
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Icon Welcome to the ACO

The Association of Charitable Organisations (formerly Association of Charity Officers) was founded in 1946 and is the national UK umbrella body for Trusts and Foundations that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need.

The funds managed by ACO members are discretionary, and seek to compliment and enhance welfare support provided by local and central government. Our members operate in the UK and across the globe. Over the last few years many funds have reviewed their operations, researching patterns of need and developing more strategic programmes of assistance.

ACO provides support to its members through:

  • Networking: building peer networks providing opportunities for members to share, and get advice and support;
  • Raising standards: promoting good practice, tackling problems together and offering solutions;
  • Lobbying and campaigning: giving our members a voice by responding to government consultations and raising awareness about the work of our member organisations;
  • Information; providing members with up to date information tailored to their specific interests through a monthly newsletter, policy briefings;
  • On line services: such as websites and member forums proving opportunities to seek and share advice and experience.

ACO Network Events in 2016

ACO's Autumn Summit

The Royal York Hotel, Station Road, York YO24 1AA on Monday, 17 October 2016 from 10:30 to 5.30pm

The New Age of Inequality

After the referendum the UK has entered a period of uncertainty and economic adjustment with the possibility of a major political and constitutional crisis. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England predicts an increase in the number of vulnerable households. The issues of inequality and division have taken on a new significance. For grantmakers the work of providing support to needy people goes on. How do we respond to events like these? Where do we get support and how do we maintain the focus on poverty and inequality in an increasingly uncertain world? Join us at the 2016 ACO Autumn Summit in York at 11am on 17th October to hear from a range of expert speakers and take the opportunity to network with organisations attempting to make sense of the major challenges ahead.

Speakers include:

  • Julia Unwin CBE - Julia has been Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation since 2007 and stands down in December. The Guardian has described her as a "major player in the voluntary sector."
  • Ed Cox, Director IPPR North. Ed was policy adviser to the communities and local government secretary. He was previously the director of policy and public affairs at the Local Government Information Unit, and served as a commissioner on the Government's Commission on Integration and Cohesion.
  • Kate Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology at University of York. She co-authored The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better and is a co-founder of The Equality Trust. She was a commissioner for the York Fairness Commission and a commissioner for the Living Wage Commission.
  • Jennifer Herrera is Executive Director of Acts 435, a revolutionary website that allows people to give money directly to others.

You can book by clicking here

We are grateful to Family Fund and Renovo for supporting this event

Grant Making Forum South and Under Fives meetings

Thursday 15th September

The Fundraising Regulator

Gerald Oppenheim, Head of Policy at the Fundraising Regulator

Following media and political criticism of various aspects of charity fundraising practices the Government asked Sir Stuart Etherington to review the issues and propose a new regime for the regulation of charity fundraising. The Fundraising Regulator is the result of this process. Gerald is an experienced and knowledgeable expert on charity and grant making, was Director of Policy and Partnerships at the Big Lottery Fund, chaired the former London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund from 2005-2008 and was a member of the BBC Charitable Appeals Committee from 2004-2009.

Charities under scrutiny 

Chris Rowse, senior associate in the charity and social business team at Russell-Cooke

As the regulation of charities increases, there is a greater focus on the responsibilities of charities and their trustees.  Against this backdrop, getting governance right has become even more important.  In this talk, Chris will look at recent developments and consider governance from a legal perspective.  He will draw on his practical experiences and cover issues including: the principles behind delegation; common issues with governing documents; taking decisions between board meetings; the appointment and retirement of trustees; and, trustee terms of office.

Thursday 1st December


  • Fiona Campbell-White, a partner at Wilsons Law. Fiona has particular experience in acting for charities, having first advised them in the 1990s on a wide variety of general contentious matters (from governance issues to contract/tort disputes), with her more recent focus being on legacy and probate administration disputes.
  • Michelle Jones, Head of Central Marketing at Kura and Kirsten McKenzie, Head of Helpline Services at Turn2us. Details to follow.

Both meetings are held at the British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS from 11am- 1pm.

All GMF meetings are followed at 1.30- 3.30pm by the ever popular Under Fives meeting for solo workers and members of small teams.

We are grateful to BDABF for supporting these events

Icon Our Corporate & Associate Members

Advising London
C Hoare & Co
CaSE Insurance
Connect Assist
Co-Op Electrical
Eddie Green Graphic Design
Fair for You
HSF Health Plan
Investec Wealth & Investment
Kingston Smith LLP
Law Express
Newton Investment Management
Psigma Investment Management
Ruffer LLP
Russell-Cooke LLP
Sayer Vincent
The Goodwill Partnership
The National Autistic Society
The OT Practice
Wilsons Law LLP