VCS Critical Friend Group Terms of Reference


For Zebra Collective to have the benefit of an entirely independent, external perspective on its work on the VCS contract, from a group of people we know to be supportive of Zebra, and who we respect for their wisdom, experience, and knowledge of the field.

The Critical Friends process will focus on developing relationships, encouraging reflective practice, rethinking leadership, being held to account against the overall objectives of the VCS contract and its evolution through its one year.

The Critical Friends process provides an opportunity both to listen to and solicit feedback in a manner that promotes reflective learning and action planning. The process will allow colleagues to share issues confidentially and seek input (questions, insights, suggestions) to assist us in positively overcoming or managing them; it is also an opportunity for colleagues to work collaboratively to tackle the challenges that can limit or stifle effective action.

This process is based in cooperative learning.

The Critical Friend Role

  • To support ZC in its delivery of the VCS contract, monitoring its evolution through the life of the contract
  • To hold us to account against the contract, helping us to maximise our potential in its delivery
  • To provide strategic advice and guidance from an external perspective, providing insights and raising awareness of relevant developments and initiatives in the sector
  •  To invite the team to reflect on and review their progress and activities, acting as both mentors and coaches, in both a supportive and a challenging role


Quarterly meetings up to two hours.