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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Repairing the tattered reputation of the Kiltwalk

This opinion piece is over 8 years old

Susan Smith argues that successful third sector organisations should have a role in rebuilding the reputation of the Kiltwalk

The latest move in a complete overhaul of the Kiltwalk has seen the Hunter Foundation move in to replace the full board.

It was only a three-person board, but this is still a dramatic move.

The move follows the culling of eight staff at the organisation which came under fire earlier this year over concerns that too much money was being spent on staff and administration costs and not enough was going to the charities it was set up to support.

The expectation is that the soon to be published 2014 annual accounts of the charity may reflect some of these problems, and after tales of staff trips to New York and Brazil, it is not surprising that supporters want to distance themselves from the former management.

Good governance is essential for the strong reputation of Scottish charities and the Kiltwalk sadly failed in this respect. It’s surprising, however, to see a funder move in so decisively to take over an organisation, even given the Hunter Foundation’s venture philanthropy approach – which is to direct rather than just invest in a cause.

Scotland is fortunate to be home to some of the best governed charities in the world

An influx of new ideas and a fresh perspective is clearly needed but good governance is not exclusive to the private sector. Scotland is fortunate to be home to some of the best governed charities in the world. Some of these are the charities that the Kiltwalk was set up to support – Aberlour, Children 1st and the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland all come to mind.

While nobody will question Ewan Hunter’s charitable credentials, it would be nice to see representatives of some of Scotland’s children’s charities take a place on the board alongside Sean Tracey and Mark Harvey, both with private sector backgrounds.

It is important that an organisation with the Kiltwalk’s fundraising potential is steered by more than three people, and experience of third-sector governance, fundraising and the charity sector will also prove invaluable in repairing the Kiltwalk’s rather tattered reputation.



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Douglas J A Roxburgh. MBE
over 8 years ago
Susan, as I have said in numerous articles regarding the Kiltwalk, integrity and transparacy are essential in governance and support of a Charity. Where improvements can be be made they should be, the support from partners, charity, voluntary and other groups through the myriad of individuals walking for our Children has to be the main focus. Despite the issues in its management, the Hunter Foundation has recognised and responded to the unique Brand of the Kiltwalk and it's fund raising concept. We should keep everything within the context and perspective of why the Kiltwalk is supported by so many, every Kilwalk I have been involved in is an inspiring and rewarding experience. I look forward to the partnership between the Hunter Foundation and the Kiltwalk with continued optimism.