Joint Forum Voluntary and Community Sector Panel for 2020-23 hold First Meeting of New Term

18 Sep 2020 Kathy Maguire    Last updated: 24 Jun 2021

The new Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Panel for the 2020-23 term of the Joint Government and Voluntary Sector Forum  has recently been confirmed. The panel held their first meeting (virtually) on Friday the 11th September.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide new panel members with an overview of the background to and role of the Joint Forum; outline their role as a VCS Panel and discuss key challenges and successes of the Joint Forum to date.

The panel also discussed and agreed issues to be raised at the next full Joint Forum meeting with Government due to be held soon. Panel discussion focused on how we must work together to meaningfully advance the Joint Forum’s goal of creating better collaboration and joint working between the sector and government.

The new VCS panel was selected by a sub group of the NICVA Executive Committee who undertook the selection and appointment of 15 voluntary and community sector representatives for the next three-year term of the Joint Forum. The  nomination and selection process was temporarily stalled by lockdown, but a panel has now been successfully appointed, whose membership spans the voluntary and community sector. When selecting  new members, gender balance, geographical representation, sectoral balance and size of organisation were all taken into account to ensure the sector would be represented in a balanced way.

The new voluntary and community sector panel members for the 2020/23 term are:

  • Anne-Marie McClure – Start 360 (Chair)

  • Bob Stronge – Advice NI

  • Charlie Fisher -Development Trusts NI

  • Colm McDaid – Supporting Communities

  • Craig McGuicken - NI Environment Link

  • Denise Hayward – Volunteer Now

  • Ellen Finlay –Children In NI (Vice Chair)

  • Jim Girvan- Upper Andersonstown Community Forum

  • Joanne Morgan - Community Development Health Network (CDHN)

  • Judith Poucher – Clanrye Group

  • Karen Smith -Disability Action

  • Kevin Hanratty –Human Rights Consortium

  • Loraine Griffin – COSTA

  • May McAvoy – Superstars Club

  • Rachel Powell – Womens Resource Development Agency (WRDA)

The VCS panel have also recently appointed their Panel Chair and Vice Chair via online election poll. These are:

  • Anne-Marie McClure,Start 360 – Chairperson

  • Ellen Finlay, CiNI – Vice Chair

We look forward to supporting the work of the 2020/23 VCG panel and to keeping you updated as the work of the Joint Forum gets underway in this new term.

What is the Joint Forum?   The Government and Voluntary Sector Joint Forum is comprised of public sector and voluntary and community sector representatives.  It provides a mechanism to facilitate open discussion of key issues which shape the relationship between the two sectors, to influence and examine the impact of public policy and to support opportunities for greater co-operation and joined up activity to better serve the people of Northern Ireland. The Forum meets three times a year. NICVA provides the secretariat for the Voluntary and Community Sector Panel and the Voluntary and Community Division in the Department for Communities provides the secretariat for the Public Sector Group. The Joint Forum is based on the Concordat, an agreement between government and the voluntary and community sector that lays out the shared principles of the working relationship.


If you have a query regarding the work of the VCS Panel or the Joint Forum , please contact [email protected].



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by Kathy Maguire

Policy Development Officer

[email protected]

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