Joint Forum seeks new sector reps

The Joint Forum is comprised of representatives from across government and the voluntary and community sector. It facilitates an open discussion about the relationship between the two sectors. 

The VCG meets with the membership from government departments three times per year as the Joint Forum. The VCG also meets independently before each Joint Forum meeting.

What is the Concordat?

The Concordat is an agreement between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector that lays out the shared vision of working together as social partners to build a participative, peaceful, equitable and inclusive community in Northern Ireland. The current Concordat is available here but is currently being reviewed. 

It outlines a twelve point framework that will shape how both parties interact with each other alongside the shared values and principles of the Concordat including; 

  • Accountability          
  • Equality and Good Relations
  • Active Citizenship   
  • Partnership
  • Community  
  • Pluralism
  • Democracy   
  • Social Justice.


The 1998 Compact between Government and the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland set out the key values and principles that underpin and define the partnership between Government, its Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (referred to collectively as the ‘Government’), and the voluntary and community sector.

The Compact was based upon the mutual recognition of the roles and responsibilities of each partner and its aims are to encourage closer working relationships and build on the voluntary and community sector’s experience in areas of mutual interest.

Joint Forum

The Joint Forum was then established in October 1998 for regular dialogue between the voluntary and community sector and Government departments and to enable the Compact to be fully and properly implemented. The voluntary and community sector members on the Joint Forum represent a wide range of organisations, small and large, urban and rural, geographic and thematic.

However, the Compact was a policy of the newly elected direct-rule Labour Government, and whilst it was endorsed by the NI Executive in 2000 the current Executive government does not have, or exercise, any ownership of it.

During an Assembly debate in November 2008 the then Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie MLA, recommended revisiting and strengthening relationship arrangements between Government and the voluntary and community sector and this was also supported by the NI Assembly’s Social Development Committee.

For more information on the Joint Forum, please see the NICVA hub and the Department for Communities webpage. 

The role of a VCG member

A member will be expected to attend the Joint Forum three times per year and the VCG meeting prior to each full Joint Forum meeting in order to represent the issues pertinent to their particular sub-sector.

A member will be required to disseminate information about the work of the Joint Forum and VCG within their own sub-sector. A member will also be required to proactively seek input to the forum from their sub-sector, particularly on cross-cutting issues.

Please note the nomination process is open to all members of the voluntary and community sector. The new sector reps will be chosen by a sub group of the NICVA Executive Committee using the criteria attached. 

For more information, please see the application pack or contact Jenny McEneaney (028 9087 7777 or [email protected]). Applications close on Friday 7th April, 2017. Applicants will be notified by Friday 28th April. 

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