The 'association of associations'

Trade associations are a vital part of the UK economy, representing their sector to the Government, driving standards and sharing best practice.

Since our formation in 1997, the Trade Association Forum has been the ‘association of associations’ – encouraging the development and sharing of best practice among UK trade associations and promoting the role of effective trade associations to government, industry and the wider public. 

We exist to help our members learn from each other, sharing best practice and offering support across a range of the operational specialisms required to run a trade association.

Via events, publications, research and awards, we seek to drive the standards of our members and raise the profile of the outstanding contribution of trade associations to UK society as a whole. We work especially closely with the UK Government, and are supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who also have a seat on our Board.

We were established in 1997, originally as part of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), but since 2014 have been a standalone organisation funded by its member and partners. Our work is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of trade association representatives.



The key benefits of TAF membership include:


TAF offers numerous events for all levels of trade association staff to exchange ideas about the opportunities and threats faced with running a trade association. This benefit is amplified in that the trade associations involved are not in competition so all parties can be open about their challenges without fear of giving away commercial sensitivities. It’s the perfect information exchange platform.

Best Practice

TAF shares best practices through training and industry survey information which is invaluable in running a trade association. Such information is also non-sector specific thus it applies to all membership organisations. From the latest information on customer relationship databases to membership recruitment and retention, all areas are highly relevant.

Knowledge Hub

The TAF website is an invaluable source of information regarding many aspects of trade association business and is geared specifically to trade bodies. Features include the latest news and events as well as a range of relevant information. Also included is the online TAF Directory, which provides additional exposure for TAF members and is utilised by Government and any other interested parties wishing to identify key trade associations in each sector.

Stakeholder Engagement

TAF has a wealth of stakeholders within the Government and non-government arena and can aid the facilitation of meetings and contacts within these groups. TAF enjoys a close partnership with BEIS Ministers and senior officials from all parts of the Government and Civil Service regularly take part in TAF meetings and events. The Department supports the legitimate interests of the trade association movement across Government.

Who we are

TAF is run by a lean team and supported by a Board of volunteers drawn from our member associations. Our focus is entirely on delivering services and events for our members.

Emily Wallace, Interim CEO

Emily Wallace

Emily is the Interim CEO and responsible for leading TAF day-to-day.


Peter Cload, Finance Director

Peter works part time with the Forum and looks after our day to day finances.

The TAF Board

Our Board oversee TAF’s operations and strategic direction, they are all volunteers and drawn from our member associations. The Board meet on a monthly basis to review our activities and plan for the future. We are always keen to hear from our members about what they would like to see TAF do, please get in touch with any ideas or suggestions.