SCIAF commits to diversifying board

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund has changed its constitution to make laypeople a majority of its directors.  

Previously the charity had been bound to have bishops as a majority of the board. Since the change, two bishops have stepped down to be replaced by lay people, who are now four of the seven members. 

The charity is one of the largest Catholic organisations in Scotland with an income of £7.9 million in 2021.

Penelope Blackwell, SCIAF’s Director of Public Engagement said the charity was ‘a very well-run organisation’ that had made the change to increase the diversity of its board. 

“There have been a number of changes to SCIAF’s constitution recently, the most notable being that the Bishops’ Conference has decided that bishops no longer need to make up a majority of our Board,” she said.

“SCIAF, the official relief and development agency of the Catholic Church here in Scotland, is a very well-run organisation with strong governance structures and this significant change will allow us to increase our board’s diversity, welcome more lay people and, it’s hoped, may also see more members from the global south join us in the future.”

The new board will be chaired by Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles and the Ms Blackwell said he would lead a team with ‘not only have more lay people but also more women’.

“We hope this is just the beginning in our journey to finding new board members to join SCIAF and help us continue to grow and thrive, with the help of their guidance and expertise,” Blackwell concluded.

“This diversification has been welcomed by board members and staff alike and the newest members, Sheriff Joseph Hughes and Diane Burke, were warmly welcomed at our last Board meeting in November.”

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh and Bishop John Keenan of Paisely are the bishops who have stepped down. 

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