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Third Sector Leeds (TSL) is the leading policy body that advocates for the third sector’s values and interests in supporting Leeds’ Best City ambition.


Who we are and what we do

TSL is the forum in Leeds that promotes, represents and advocates for not-for-profit groups and organisations (known as the ‘Third Sector’) in Leeds.

We work closely with large organisations that set the direction for the city, including the Council and the Leeds Health and Care Partnership (the NHS) in order to:

  • Influence decisions that affect the communities the third sector works with.
  • Ensure that as many third sector organisations as possible, particularly the smaller ones, are involved in discussions on city-wide challenges and solutions.
  • Ensure third sector organisations can access information and support to help them play their part in changing Leeds for the better.

Our current priorities

TSL seeks to highlight all of the third sectors strengths and respond to its key issues and challenges as they emerge and to be an assertive voice for the third sector making a clear case to partners.

Each year there a number of key ambitions that we focus on specifically. These priorities are voted on by third sector organisations, as part of the Leeds Third Sector Strategy (2023 – 2028). In 2024, these ambitions are:

  • Partnerships: City anchors, businesses and the third sector work together in a fair and equitable partnership as a whole system to make Leeds the best city to live in. Partners are open and transparent, and leaders actively share their decision-making power.
  • Commissioning and funding: All partners invest in who is best placed to co-produce and provide the service or support needed in the city. Commissioning relationships are centred around trust, values, flexibility and outcomes and are a partnership of equals.
  • Social value: In Leeds, partners agree that social value activities should be delivered with and through the third sector. Leeds has a clear set of co-designed priorities for where social value activity will have most impact. There are clear routes for larger organisations to be matched with opportunities that create social value, and to seethe impact this has.

Our members and how we work with you

Any Third Sector organisation in Leeds can be a member. We provide information to members about city decisions and seek feedback to help us to influence decisions in the interest of the third sector and communities.

Anyone signed up to our mailing list is treated as a member, but in practice all of the work we do is open to any third sector organisation in Leeds.

  • Our event programme is the main way that we meet with and hear from members. During the year we run a series of workshops on particular themes, and a series of ‘TSL Goes Local’ events in the different localities of Leeds.
  • We publish a regular ‘Round Up’ document that sets out the main discussions we’re involved in and how you can have your say.
  • We produce briefing papers and reports on key areas of policy or practice or conduct surveys of our members to find out what you think.
  • We’re always keen to come and talk to any organisation that wants to share their thoughts 1:1.

Making the Case for the Third Sector — Third Sector Partnership

Part of Third Sector Leeds’ job is to look at how people and organisations can work together to make the sector stronger.

One way that we help to make the case for the third sector is through our membership of Third Sector Partnership. Third Sector Partnership is Chaired by the Council’s Executive Member for Citizens and Communities, and brings together Third Sector Representatives and senior leaders from the Council, NHS and Universities to agree priorities for change and deliver against them.

Third Sector Leeds has five places on Third Sector Partnership, with five further places for third sector advocates offered to third sector people with particular knowledge or skills.

How Third Sector Leeds works

Third Sector Leeds is a formal network of organisations with an interest in sustaining and developing a thriving third sector in Leeds.

As a formal partnership, we follow a clear set of rules and make sure that all of our work is open to scrutiny by our members and the public.

TSL Terms of Reference are its rules.

They outline:

  • What TSL exists to achieve
  • What it does to achieve its aims
  • The behaviours expected of Leadership Group members
  • How the Leadership Group directs TSL’s work
  • How people become members of Leadership Group

The Terms of Reference are reviewed regularly to ensure that still meet the needs of our members.

The Leadership Group

TSL has a Leadership Group who meet regularly to discuss the key issues in the city and share their ideas about how improvements could be made.

Leadership Group members all work or volunteer for third sector organisations (often in senior positions) and give up their time because they know that by working together the Third Sector will be more effective.

When they ‘wear their Leadership Group hat’ members represent particular areas of interest (e.g. advice giving, young people or health) or different parts of the city, and use their knowledge of the wider third sector to suggest the way forward.

Leadership Group members are nominated by city forums with particular interests (e.g. Forum Central the health and social care network nominates a Leadership Group member to represent Health). Where no forum exists, positions are advertised and TSL members vote representatives into positions.

You can find a list of our current members here

Third Sector Leeds has an independent Chair who acts in the interests of the third sector in Leeds. When TSL needs a new Chair the post is advertised and selected by interview.

The Chair of Third Sector Leeds is Kim Groves.

TSL Leadership Group Minutes

TSL Leadership Group keeps a written record of its meetings. We publish our minutes so that members can find out the issues we’ve discussed and the action we’ve decided to take.

You can view and download the minutes of 1 year’s meetings at the end of this page.

If you would like see these notes or find out more about TSL’s work please contact 

TSL’s Recent Activity

View the recent documents TSL has produced

This will give you a good idea of what TSL is working on and some of the key issues facing third sector organisations in Leeds.

TSL Mailing List

Subscribe to be kept up-to-date

Third Sector Leeds keeps its members informed about key third sector news, the city’s policy developments and strategic discussions, relevant training and funding

Sign-up to the mailing list using the link below and select ‘Key Sector Updates’ as the area of interest – first on the list.

This mailing list is managed by Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) so you may also wish to subscribe to some of the other categories of interests which are listed.

Documents you can Download

TSL Terms of Reference (PDF, 150 KB)

The rules that TSL follows.

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