Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations

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ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) is a membership body for the leaders of third sector organisations in England and Wales. ACEVO has sister organisations in Scotland (acosvo)[1] and Northern Ireland (CO3 Chief Officers 3rd Sector.[2]


ACEVO's stated aims are to connect, develop and represent third sector leaders. In turn, these aims are met by offering professional development and peer learning opportunities; providing informal networking events and a members directory available to all members; and lobbying the UK government on the behalf of its members. These three aims are all intended to make the sector more professional and effective. ACEVO is a registered charity [number 1114591].


ACEVO was started in 1987 by three charity Chief Executives who felt isolated in their positions, and felt a need for a networking group of third sector leaders. Its original name was ACENVO - Association of Chief Executives of National Voluntary Organisations. It has grown steadily since then, and when its current Chief Executive, Stephen Bubb, took over in 2000, ACEVO had a staff of 6 and around 1000 members. Today it has 30 staff and a total membership of 1750. ACEVO will celebrate its Silver Jubilee in 2012.


ACEVO's membership is primarily drawn from England and Wales, but since February 2005 it has been offering membership to leaders of organisations based outside the UK (third sector leaders in Scotland or Northern Ireland can join acosvo or CO3 respectively). In England and Wales, membership is also offered to private organisations wishing to support and work with the sector(Commercial Partnership), and likely successors to current Full members (Associate membership).

Membership fees are graduated by the turnover of the organisation the CEO represents. In 2010, ACEVO launched its Affiliate membership programme, to support CEOs of organisations with a low turnover.

Members join primarily for peer support and professional development through networking, training and events. Members also benefit from information services, and from legal and emotional support in the event that their job is put at risk.


ACEVO has been influential within the UK in campaigning on behalf of third sector leaders, most notably on issues of governance, leadership and funding. ACEVO is a strategic partner of the Cabinet Office's Office for Civil Society, and has been involved in the government's numerous task forces and working groups.

Together with New Philanthropy Capital, ACEVO developed and pioneered the concept of Full Cost Recovery,[3] which states that third sector organisations should cost their work robustly, and that the funding they receive from government should be sustainable.

Services provided by ACEVO to the sector[edit]

  • CutsWatch is a free microsite launched in 2009 by ACEVO. It was designed to provide useful information to help charities and third sector organisations survive the recession.
  • In 2011 ACEVO launched its Event Management Service to help organisations with running events and its Consultancy Matching Service to provide third sector organisations with access to reputable and effective consultants.


ACEVO has been criticised by other voluntary sector organisations for taking political stance in favour of charities assisting with the privatisation of public services such as healthcare and prisons. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations criticised a 2005 ACEVO report warning it could "warp public perception of the role of the sector".[4] These concerns have resurfaced more recently following CEO Stephen Bubb's secondment to the department of health to assist with Andrew Lansley's National Health Service (NHS) "listening exercise".[5]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "CO3 |". Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ [3][permanent dead link]
  5. ^ [4][dead link]

External links[edit]