In this paper, we describe how a semiotic ladder, together with a supportive trust agent, can be used to address "soft" trust issues in the context of collaborative Virtual Organisations (VO). The intention is to offer all parties better support for trust (as reputation) management including the reduction of risk and improved reliability of VO e-services. The semiotic ladder is intended to support the VO e-service lifecycle through the articulation of e-trust at various levels of system abstraction, including trust as measurable confidence. At the social level, reputation and reliability measures of e-trust are the relevant dimensions as regards choice of VO partner and are also relevant to the negotiation of service level agreements between the VO partners. By contrast, at the lower levels of the trust ladder, e-trust measures typically address the degree to which secure sign on and message level security conforms to various tangible technological security protocols. The novel trust agent provides the e-service consumer with an objective measure of the trustworthiness of the e-service at run-time, just prior to its actual consumption. Specifically, VO e-service consumer confidence level is informed, by leveraging third party objective evidence. This evidence comprises a set of Corporate Governance (CG) scores. These scores are used as a trust proxy for the "real" owner of the VO. There are also inherent limitations associated with the use of CG scores. These are duly acknowledged.