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Remit of Research Forum




1. Government and organisations within the third sector share many of the same priorities, and are asking the same questions, therefore collaboration and information sharing is the common sense approach. In that context, we propose the continuation of the Scottish Third Sector Research Forum, gathering together strategic partners and others within the sector to collaborate on a programme of research of benefit to all. This programme will collate the ideas, priorities and requirements of members of the Forum and the sector as a whole.

Remit of the forum

2. The Forum will take a holistic oversight of third sector research and evidence needs, within the context of general issues and priorities within the sector during 2009-10. On the basis of that oversight, it will collaborate on and input to the components of the collective 2009-10 third sector research programmes to be taken forward by all represented organisations. The programmes will be considered in the context of longer-term need, and projects will not be limited to the financial year.

3. Ownership of individual research projects within the programme will vary depending on the separate funding priorities and interests of member organisations. Ideally, there should be a reasonable spread of project ownership across central government and strategic partners, agreed collaboratively within the Forum. Projects will be taken forward to produce data meeting common quality standards. Information on project progress will be shared within the forum as will the results of all research, thus providing the Forum with a strategic overview of the programme, and avoiding duplication between projects.

Role of the forum

4. The role of the forum will be to:

  • Determine what research and evidence needs exist in the third sector, and prioritise which of these should be taken forward within the 2009-10 research programmes, taking account of all views;
  • Discuss who is best placed to take forward the priorities identified, either in collaboration or as individual organisations;
  • Share information on the progress and results of research projects;
  • Include consideration within the programmes of longer-term research work, e.g. the long term requirement to improve statistical information on the sector as a whole;
  • Provide feedback and advice on more general third sector research and evidence issues, e.g. in terms of need for the future, or constraints on current practice;
  • Share information on relevant research projects or proposals going forward outwith Scotland if aware of these, to widen the general knowledge base and provide good practice references and learning points;

Research Methodology

5. The Forum is committed to sound research practices and principles, according to common quality standards such at the standards for National Statistics. The Forum is composed primarily of sector members and policy experts, and will therefore need to take professional research advice as appropriate.


6. The Forum will be chaired by Geoff Pope (Scottish Government). Members will be:

  • Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise)
  • Ruchir Shah (SCVO)
  • Chris Higgins (HIE)
  • Kathy Cameron (COSLA)
  • Antonia Swinson (Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition)
  • Gerry Higgins (CEiS)
  • Linda Boyes (ACOSVO)
  • Louise Meikleham (OSCR)
  • Helen Harper (VDS)
  • Silvy Peeters (ESS)
  • Eleanor Burt (St Andrews University)
  • Louise Scott (Scottish Government)
  • Tracey Houston (Scottish Government)

Additional membership requirements will be discussed and agreed by the Forum.

7. The Forum will meet approximately every quarter, or as appropriate, and members will be expected to consider papers in advance of meetings and to consider correspondence arising between meetings.

Third Sector Division

Scottish Government

April 2009