Trade Association Forum and Institute of Association Leadership join forces to develop new leadership programme and resources for trade associations.

The Institute of Association Leadership and the Trade Association Forum have announced that the two organisations will be merging.

The Institute of Association Leadership is the professional community for current and future chief executives and c-suite professionals who lead within the unique environment of the membership sector.

The Trade Association Forum is the leading representative body for associations in the UK, helping associations to engage, improve and lead their sectors.

The merger will see both organisations combine their resources to form a strengthened leadership and development offer for the association sector. 

The integration of resources and collaboration around the development of a new leadership programme will start with immediate effect. 

From January 2023, the Trade Association Forum will take full responsibility for the leadership and development programmes currently delivered by both organisations. 

Simon Forrester, Director of the Institute of Association Leadership said: 

“After careful consideration by the IAL Collective, we approached the Trade Association Forum to discuss how we can work together to further support those operating in or seeking an association leadership position. We quickly realised the natural home for association leaders is within a single, stronger body dedicated to best practice in this sphere. This merger of the two organisations will deliver significant benefit to both TAF and IAL members, and further promote the development of the Compass competency framework.”

Gaynor Pates, Chair of the Trade Association Forum said:

“The Trade Association Forum exists to support the development of best practice amongst associations to enable them to champion and support businesses across all sectors of the economy. 

“We are delighted that this merger with IAL will allow for the development of a new and strengthened programme for leaders and future leaders of trade associations. 

For more information contact: 

Emily Wallace

Chief Executive, Trade Association Forum

The Trade Association Forum is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with insurance advisory specialists Partners&

As part of the partnership, the two organisations will work together to develop a programme of work exploring risks and opportunities faced by trade associations and their members.

This will include conducting primary research on attitudes and awareness of risk amongst trade associations, which will be launched later this year.

Partners& will also be designing bespoke insurance solutions for TAF members, enabling them to extend what they can offer to their own members.

Announcing the partnership, TAF Interim CEO Emily Wallace said: 

I am incredibly pleased to welcome Partners& to TAF! We really look forward to working together to help our members improve the services they provide their members and help businesses to more effectively manage risk.  I look forward to working with Partners& to assist TAF members. 

CEO of Partners&, Phil Barton commented:

 “As our name suggests, we have built our reputation on partnering with organisations to deliver mutually beneficial solutions. We have an enviable track record of working with member services organisations, and are excited at the prospect of developing bespoke schemes for TAF members.“


  • The Trade Association Forum is the association for association in the UK, representing more than 140 trade associations who in turn represent more than 130,000 businesses from all sectors of the economy.
  • Partners& is a Chartered insurance advisory business providing seamless insurance, employee benefits, risk management and claims advice to businesses and private clients. 
  • For more information please contact:
    • TAF: Emily Wallace, CEO –
    • Partners&: Malia Brown, Marketing and Communications Director –

Our second Member Spotlight welcomes Sally Edgington, Director at AXREM who joined us to discuss the work that she does for AXREM and the award that she won at the 2022 TAF Awards.


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Introducing our new Member Spotlight series is Ellen Daniels, the Chief Executive of the British Compressed Gases Association. Ellen spoke to us about good governance and what the BCGA is prioritising for this year.

On the 7th April 2022, the Government’s long awaited ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ was published. The Strategy builds on the Prime Minister’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ (published in November 2020) and the Government’s ‘Net Zero Strategy.’ 

The plan was published in light of rising global energy prices, and provoked by surging demand due to the Coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. 

The Government’s, ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ sets out plans for accelerating the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen power, whilst also supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term. The Plan outlines that this could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon. 

Central to the plan is nuclear energy. The strategy outlines the ambition to ramp up nuclear power generation to 24GW by 2050. This would represent approximately 25% of our projected electricity demand. 

Other key announcements in the plan include: 

  • Offshore wind: 
    • An ambition of up to 50GW of power produced by 2030. 
  • Onshore wind:
    • Government will be consulting on developing partnerships with a limited number of supportive communities who want to host onshore wind infrastructure in return for lower energy bills. 
  • Oil and gas: 
    • A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects planned to launch in the Autumn. 
  • Heat pumps:
    • Government will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps. 
  • Solar: 
    • Government aims to increase the UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity to five times it’s current capacity by 2035. 
  • Low carbon hydrogen: 
    • Government aims to double their ambition of low carbon hydrogen production from 5GW to 10GW by 2030. 
  • Aims to increase number of clean jobs in the UK by: 
    • Supporting 90,000 jobs in offshore wind by 2028.
    • Supporting 10,000 jobs in solar by 2028. 
    • Supporting 12,000 jobs in the UK hydrogen industry by 2030. 

There has been criticism of the strategy from industry, with many believing that the strategy is a missed opportunity that does not help reduce the UK’s reliance on expensive imports in the short term, and fails to address the rising cost of energy bills across the United Kingdom. 

Laura Bishop, Chair of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, commented on the strategy stating: 

“The Government’s Energy Security Strategy published today represents a missed opportunity. Instead of focusing on immediate measures to reduce dependence on expensive imported gas, including accelerating the rollout of heat pumps, the Strategy focuses on the government’s favoured electricity generating technologies, including those with long lead in times. This will do nothing to address the immediate cost of living and energy crises facing UK consumers.”

“We welcome the announcement of a new grant competition for UK heat pump manufacturing and a government information website for heat pumps, but again, this will do little in the short term to boost heat pump demand, or put the UK on course to delivering the Prime Minister’s target of 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.”

“The GSHPA has been calling for an acceleration of the welcome measures contained in last year’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, but today’s announcements provide no additional funding for consumers wanting to switch to heat pumps, nor give any clear indication of when the legacy environmental costs on electricity bills will be removed.”

“We needed to see far greater urgency in today’s announcements, with a clear focus on reducing energy demand in the short-term. We didn’t get it.” 

Lily Frencham, CEO of the Association for Decentralised Energy commented on the Strategy stating

“Decentralised energy measures are proven, pragmatic, modern and ready to bolster the UK’s energy security and decarbonisation ambitions – we just need the political will and investment to create certainty and catch up with other European nations already using them to great effect. 

Unfortunately, the new Energy Security Strategy misses a trick by neglecting to focus on easy and established measures that can help people immediately – such as improving the efficiency of their homes. Without increased government support in these areas, it will be impossible to adequately protect consumers from continued price rises and volatility in the future.”

The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) commented on the Strategy stating

“The government must urgently revisit the Energy Strategy, focusing more attention on measures to help households reduce their energy usage now, and on supporting cost-effective and practical low carbon energy solutions. For the 1.7 million UK households that currently use oil, renewable liquid fuels such as HVO should be prioritised as HVO immediately reduces carbon emissions by 88%. It can also be used in an existing oil boiler following a simple, low cost conversion that takes one hour and costs around £500.

“With the increasing cost and uncertainty over energy, the publication of a robust and practical plan is an important step as we look to transition away from fossil fuels to low carbon alternatives.

“But while the focus of the document looks to the infrastructure needed to meet Britain’s future energy generation and consumption, there is very little on how the government intends to help households and businesses to reduce their energy requirements NOW. Given the current situation, we think this is a very serious omission. The best energy is the energy you don’t use, so this is where the new strategy should have started.

“We are particularly concerned about off-gas grid households that use oil heating. The government has stated that 65% of these homes are in EPC Bands E to G (a much higher proportion than homes that use mains gas heating), making them some of the least energy efficient in Britain.

“The government has proposed that, from 2026, these households will be expected to install a heat pump should they need to replace their existing boiler. It makes no sense to install a heat pump in an energy inefficient building, yet that is exactly what these households will, in most cases, be forced to do. We estimate that the average cost of a heat pump, and the necessary energy efficient improvements, will be around £20,000 – which for most is completely unaffordable. Yet there is nothing in the new strategy to help these households.

“This is completely at odds with the statements in this new Energy Strategy and recent Heat and Buildings Strategy that the government is committed to choice, and to a fair transition. Where off-gas grid homes are concerned, they are doing the opposite – offering no choice and treating them extremely unfairly.

“The industry has already demonstrated the viability of an HVO solution after sponsoring the conversion and running cost of nearly 150 oil homes to the fossil-free fuel. We urge the government so support a wider rollout.”

Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has commented on the strategy stating: 

“The Energy Security Strategy completely misses the mark in tackling energy consumption in our homes. After the disappointment of the Heat and Buildings Strategy this was an opportunity for Government to implement a National Retrofit Strategy, focussing on improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s draughty and leaky homes. While the strategy does deliver 0% VAT on energy efficiency improvements to properties, a welcome move that the FMB has long been campaigning for, this only helps those with the money to pay in the first place. A broader, insulation led, retrofit strategy would have been an immediate solution to reduce energy consumption, boost the economy and importantly, help save homeowners money on their bills during a cost-of-living crisis.” 

Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance has commented on the debate surrounding on-shore wind farms stating:

“Last week, ahead of the publication of the Government’s Energy Security review, the debate in the energy world centred on whether onshore windfarms were an “eyesore” or were they “attractive”. I must admit to being ambivalent to this debate.

They are man-made structures, artificially placed in the landscape. To me they are functional, if I don’t have to see them great, but if they perform a key task for society, then so be it. Mobile phone masts are hardly pretty, but without mobile reception, the world seemingly comes to an end. And existing electricity pylons are hardly a thing of beauty but without them, we would struggle to be the developed nation we are.

So let’s call out those framing the onshore wind debate in terms of beauty. Such comments either minimise the importance of the debate (namely securing low carbon energy cheaply) or worse, it risks another bout of elitism pouring forth. If you do think such structures are attractive, great that’s your opinion, but don’t expect everyone to agree. And certainly don’t suggest that because you do, then others should, because you know best.

I sit in the realist camp. The more wind power we have the better, provided there is built in resilience for electricity supply when the wind doesn’t blow. And when there is too much wind, and supply exceeds demand, then let’s not waste the power but instead store it. This is where green hydrogen earns its place. For producers, earning a revenue stream rather than relying on constraint payments that risk getting smaller over time, is a good thing. Storing a gas, with the flexibility to use it when needed, is common sense. Using it to deal with peak energy demands, again, an obvious security of supply gain.

Imagine having local windfarms, producing green hydrogen, supplying local people with heating, hot water and cooking. All backed up by a nation-wide grid of pipes to carry the hydrogen gas to areas without local supply, or at times of local need. I can’t be the first to think of this idea can I? We could call it a national grid, or something like that. Now that’s what I call attractive.”

The Trade Association Forum is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with recruitment specialists, Membership Bespoke, who work solely with trade associations, professional bodies, regulatory bodies and political parties. 

As part of the partnership, TAF members can access exclusive discounts on recruitment fees from Membership Bespoke, as well as free job description analysis and free confidential, impartial advice. Find out more in the member benefits section of your TAF member account.

Keep an eye out on the TAF website job section, as we will be posting more jobs in partnership with Membership Bespoke with the aim of making the TAF jobs board the go-to-place for trade association jobs in the UK. And remember, TAF members can list their jobs for free on the site – contact the TAF secretariat with your roles!

Announcing the partnership, TAF Interim CEO Emily Wallis has saidI am incredibly pleased to welcome Membership Bespoke to TAF! We really look forward to working together to make TAF the place to look for employment in the Trade Association space.I look forward to working with Membership Bespoke to assist TAF members with all their recruitment needs. Welcome to TAF!” 

Founding partner of Membership Bespoke, Dennis Howes, said “we are delighted and honored to be able to announce our partnership with TAF today.  A strategic partnership with an organisation with such a rich history of service and excellence in the membership space will allow us to give back to the sector we love.  It will also help to introduce us to Trade Association clients who perhaps haven’t yet worked with us before and need help in attracting and retaining the best talent that the membership sector has to offer.”

Founding Partner of Membership Bespoke, Daniel Goddard, added that “the recruitment landscape is very challenging at the moment so we will aim to assist in any way possible to make sure that TAF members can gain a competitive advantage by tapping into our network and the valuable knowledge that we have gained in the 11 years since we have worked within this space.”

We have all been shocked and appalled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Ukraine and we all hope for a swift resolution to the conflict.

Alongside the humanitarian tragedy, there are also profound economic consequences to the conflict, many of which have yet to manifest.

Alongside our government sponsor, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we have collated some useful information that may be of use to your members, you can find these below:



  • Government Response: You can read about the Government’s response to the crisis here
  • A customs easement is now in place to make it easier to move aid and donations to help the people of Ukraine. You can review the details of this here. 
  • Ask Questions: If your members are selling goods or services to Europe, you or they can contact the export support team by phone or online to ask questions, find out more here
  • Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU): find the latest notices to exporters here
  • Sanctions:
  • Businesses can now sign up to offer work to people who have come to the UK from Ukraine. You can review details of this here





  • DEC Appeal – The most effective way to make a donation is via the Disaster Emergency Committee, a coalition of 15 member charities who are experts in humanitarian aid and specialise in different areas of disaster response. Find out more here. 

At a gala ceremony in Central London, the winners of the 2022 Best Practice Awards were revealed tonight.

Attended by 200 leading figures from the UK trade association sector, the awards are a chance to celebrate all the amazing achievements of our trade associations and the people that work for them.

Back after a 2-year pandemic-enforced break, it was inspiring to hear all the incredible ways that associations delivered for their members during the unprecedented upheaval caused by Covid-19, with many shifting to digital in innovative and impactful ways. What came through in all the entries is the hard work and dedication that associations show to delivering for the members and leading their sector. Whether around skills, governance or sustainability, the UK’s associations have once again demonstrated what a critical role they play in our economy and society.

Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted, it is an achievement in itself to make the final list from such a large and strong field of entries, but particular congratulations to our winners!

The Best Practice Awards will be back again (pandemic willing!) next year, so follow us on social or sign up for our newsletter to make sure you are kept in the loop with announcements.

TAF is also bringing back our Best Practice Exchange after a similarly pandemic-enforced absence on 23rd June 2022 to share the best practice examples from our awards winners and elsewhere across the sector. This event is a must-attend for any trade association professional looking to learn from best-in-class leaders in the sector and to network with peers – watch this space for more information!

View the full list of winners at the TAF Best Practice Awards 2022 here.

There’s just under two weeks to go until the return of the Trade Association Best Practice Awards – back after a two year Covid-enforced absence.

With 25 trade associations shortlisted and 200 people booked to attend on the night it will be a brilliant way to celebrate the very best of the UK association world.

Trade associations have played a vital role in UK society in recent years, helping their sectors adjust to the changes driven by our exit from the European Union and then supporting their members and the Government through the pandemic.

The awards will recognise and celebrate these efforts and is a welcome return to in-person networking that has been a cornerstone of TAF activities for years.

Find out more about on the awards website and look forward to seeing many of you there on the night!

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