Third Sector Awards 2018: Charity Chief Executive - Josh MacAlister, Frontline

Third Sector Promotion Markel

Awarded to the chief executive who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her organisation or the wider sector over the past year

Josh MacAlister
Josh MacAlister

Who is he?

Josh MacAlister founded Frontline in 2013 with the bold ambition of transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to become social workers and leaders.

What has he done for the charity?

MacAlister has grown Frontline from four people to 94, overseeing employee growth of 67 per cent in the last year alone. The charity has expanded its intensive two-year social work training programme by 17 per cent in the last year, doubled the number of participants in its Firstline social work leadership programme from 70 to 140 and increased fundraising income by 46 per cent.

Rapid growth often brings a corresponding surge in bureaucracy. MacAlister has led workshops on maintaining a culture with high levels of freedom and individual responsibility, avoiding unnecessary processes and giving responsible, valuable feedback. He takes a hand-on role in the charity, whether meeting supporters, assessing candidates or taking the time to do an interview with a student newspaper to promote Frontline’s work.

What else has he achieved?

MacAlister’s commitment to Frontline's mission extends beyond his role at the charity. In the last year he joined the advisory board of the Children's Commissioner, drawing on his personal experiences to contribute to the commissioner's Growing Up North report. He also joined the advisory group for the new What Works Centre for Children's Social Care, which will identify ways in which social work can be more effective and share them with the wider profession. As a board member of The Difference, he works to bring great teachers into alternative provision schools for children who have been excluded.


Chris Burghes, Royal Free Charity

Dr Ava Easton, Encephalitis Society

Alex Ramamurthy, the Care Workers Charity

Vinny Smith, Meningitis Research Foundation

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