Review of Strategic People 2017

Last month, we welcomed over 200 HR and volunteering leaders from the not-for profit sector to our annual conference, Strategic People 2017, held at America Square Conference Centre, London.

The day began with a welcome from our Head of Business Development, Clare Harris, followed by Rob Hayter from TPP Recruitment, the event’s sponsor.


Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy and Volunteering, NCVO delivered the morning keynote address. He spoke emphatically about the future of volunteering, highlighting that we are starting to transition to a world where millennials are giving smaller amounts of time, not necessarily to the same organisation. Our rapidly aging population demands greater dependency on public services, and society’s expectations are changing, so how do we bridge the gap? He discussed the need to adapt to digitalisation, and people’s need for their good work to be measurable. Karl received an overwhelmingly positive response from delegates, with many feeding back that they were glad to hear the latest thinking in research.

Workshop sessions featured Scott Semple, Director of Organisational Development at Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, discussing change management. Arthritis Care’s HR Manager Val Timlin, and Volunteer Development Manager Adrienne Thompson, also ran a session about developing a people strategy.

Expert Learning Sets were introduced to this year’s programme. Delegates took part in sessions about attracting and engaging volunteers, the gender pay gap, and non-financial recognition. Thanks to Chris Reed from Barnardo’s and Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd, Anna Dabek and Matthew Wort from Anthony Collins LLP, and Jane Vivier from Agenda, for sharing your knowledge.


Workshop sessions continued into the afternoon. Becky Cund, Director of HR and Administration at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Caryn Skinner, Owner of Sharpstone Skinner, shared their experience of delivering through an empowered leadership team. Other workshops included Macmillan’s session on establishing an effective volunteer forum, Martyn Dicker of Prince’s Trust and Engage for Success talking about some of the latest third sector engagement research, and National Trust and De Montfort University highlighting the key findings of their research into the differences between staff and volunteers.

The afternoon ended with the keynote address from Helen Murley, Global HR Director at British Council. Helen talked through the planning and implementation of their employee value proposition, ‘working together to make a lasting difference’, and linked it with their staff survey. She also shared the key findings and outlined the next phase in their plan. Delegates found her speech “refreshingly open and honest”, “well presented”, and “thought-provoking”.

Partners and exhibitorsStra

Our partners are critical to making the event a success. We thank AVM, Charities HR Network, CHS Alliance, Hospice UK, MHPF, NUS and VODG, and hope to continue working together to offer great benefits to their members.

We offer the exhibition space to trusted suppliers to the not-for-profit sector. Thank you to Anthony Collins, Hireserve, Reward Gateway, The Talent Sphere, TPP Recruitment, and Trowers & Hamlins, for attending.


Finally we’d like to thank our keynote speakers and workshop leaders for their contribution towards a fantastic day, as well as all of the delegates who attended. We hope you found the event enjoyable, as well as informative.

If you have any recommendations for topics or speakers at future events, you’re very welcome to email Caroline Oates.

The Agenda Team

Here’s a word cloud made from the feedback we received from the event:


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Association of Mental Health Providers AVM AVSM Charities HR Network Charity Comms Heritage Volunteering Group Hospice UK Humentum National Care Forum National Union of Students NCVO Voluntary Organisations Disability Group

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