A question mark in a light bulb is drawn on a piece of white paper.

An update on our governance and leadership

We want to help create a Sheffield that works for all young people in our city, and we have two key ambitions. The first to create a world class, fit for purpose space in the city centre which is led by young people, and exists to meet young people’s needs, whether that be simply having a place to go to, or being able to find and use important services and support. The second is to play our part in re-imagining how core services for young people can be designed and built, so that they are as strong and effective as possible.

Recently, we have been reflecting on how our governance and leadership could best help us achieve these goals. We have focused on two areas, the make up of our trustee board, and the way our organisation is formally constituted.

This post includes some of the thinking that we have been doing, the next steps, and how you could get involved to help us on our way.

Youth led from the top

It is an incredible – but perhaps not surprising – statistic that less that 3% of all charity trustees in the UK are under 30 years old, as recently reported by the Young Trustees Movement.

At a time when the voice and influence of young people is more important than ever, we need to understand why this is and what needs to change so that young people are supported to help lead and govern the organisations and services that work on their behalf.

We’ve taken inspiration from 100% user-led advocacy organisations such as My Life My Choice, and challenged ourselves to ask the question: Could we be a 100% young people-led organisation? The answer: of course!

We are still learning and reflecting on what this could look like for us. The processes by which we are currently governed and led are designed to work first and foremost for adults, so this is an opportunity to rethink governance and leadership afresh. Fortunately, with some excellent current and recent young trustees already with us, we have a great place to begin.

A constitution that supports inclusion, diversity, and accountability

Our key ambitions are outward looking, and we are determined to build shared assets for young people in Sheffield. In wanting to be as outward looking, inclusive, and accountable as possible, it is essential that we reflect on how these shared assets are governed, and how we are constituted is really important.

We are currently investigating what model of constitution might be best suited to the kind of asset that we aspire to become. For example, by re-constituting as a CIO using the ‘association’ model, we could have a wider voting membership who make certain decisions (such as amending the constitution), will usually appoint some or all of the charity trustees (who will serve for fixed terms), and may be involved in our work in other ways.

This could help us to bring a wider range of voices and opinions into our work, making us more accountable. It could also help us to bring more diversity of experience and viewpoints into our most important decisions.

Get involved!

We still have more learning and thinking to do, both about the future make-up of our trustee group and our constitution. We would love to hear from anyone who feels they have something to contribute to this work. Please do get in touch!