The Scottish Parliament's think-tank


Scotland’s Futures Forum is the Scottish Parliament’s futures think-tank. It works on a non-party basis to promote research and to stimulate debate on the long-term challenges and opportunities that Scotland faces. We aim to inform MSPs and those who work with them, enabling them to consider the effects of decisions taken today on Scotland’s long-term future.

Looking beyond the five-year electoral cycle and away from party politics, the Futures Forum seeks to bring fresh perspectives, ideas and creativity on how we might prepare now for the future. We host discussions and seminars and present ideas to engage Scotland’s parliamentarians and challenge their thinking.

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Current Board of Directors

  • Alison Johnstone MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (Chair)
  • Maggie Chapman MSP
  • Sir Andrew Cubie CBE
  • Louise Macdonald OBE, National Director Scotland, Institute of Directors
  • Stuart McMillan MSP
  • Sarah Munro, Director of the Baltic Mill Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Alex Rowley MSP
  • Brian Whittle MSP

Our team

  • Susan Duffy, Company Secretary. Susan is Head of Engagement and Communications at the Scottish Parliament and within the Futures Forum has responsibility as Company Secretary.
  • Rob Littlejohn, Head of Business. Rob acts with delegated authority to organise and deliver events and projects in line with the strategic direction provided by the Board of Directors.
  • Audrey Gray, Business Co-ordinator. Audrey provides administrative and event support.

Our background

Scotland’s Futures Forum was established in 2005 to provide Members of the Scottish Parliament with the opportunity to move away from the day-to-day business of Parliament and think creatively about Scotland’s longer-term future.

Driven by the vision and energy of then Presiding Officer George Reid and Parliament’s Chief Executive Paul Grice, the Futures Forum quickly developed into a vital piece of Scotland’s thinking landscape, taking on and delivering ambitious projects on a positive view of ageing and on innovative ways to view and tackle Scotland’s problems with alcohol and drugs.

Information about the Futures Forum’s work, including our major programmes, can be found in our Library section.

Our governance

The Futures Forum is formally constituted as a company limited by guarantee (SC288940) owned wholly by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – the body responsible for ensuring that the Scottish Parliament is provided with the property, services and staff it requires. The SPCB provides 100% of the Futures Forum’s funding.

Our work is overseen by a Board of Directors, which is is chaired by the Parliament’s Presiding Officer. As company directors, Board members are responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of Scotland’s Futures Forum and its programme of work.

Annual Report

Each year, the Futures Forum submits an annual report of its activities to the SPCB as part of its governance arrangements. It is also legally required to prepare and submit financial statements (annual accounts) to Companies House and HM Revenue and Customs.

Read our recent annual reports here:


Directors come from two general categories: MSPs and non-MSPs. MSP directors are nominated by their party to provide a parliamentary input into the work of the Futures Forum. Non-MSP directors bring experience of different aspects of civic Scotland, including academia, the third sector, the arts and industry.

Directors are required to show a strong commitment to, and an understanding of, the value of strategic and long-term thinking within Scotland. They are expected to support the work of the Futures Forum, promote it within their networks, and occasionally host events.

The position of director is not remunerated and is held for an initial term of five years with extension mutually agreed by the individual director, the Presiding Officer as Chair of the Board, and the SPCB.

Nomination, appointment and reappointment of directors

Given that the Board of directors are most aware of the experience needed at any one time, the directors propose individuals for appointment, bearing in mind requirements for a Board that is broadly representative of Scotland’s population. It is then for the SPCB, as the company’s owner and sole member, formally to nominate each director and thereby confirm their appointment.

It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Board, acting with the advice of the Company Secretary, to review the performance of each director before inviting them to extend their term as a director. The review is conducted against the director specification, considering among other things attendance at and involvement in Futures Forum board meetings and wider activities. Assuming the invitation is accepted, the SPCB is asked formally to extend the appointment.