Joint Government/Voluntary and Community Sector Forum

23 Apr 2013     Last updated: 12 Oct 2015

The Joint Government/Voluntary and Community Sector Forum, commonly known as the Joint Forum, was established in October 1998.

The Forum was established following the identification of a gap in arrangements for regular dialogue between the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and Government departments. The Concordat includes a list of priority actions - referred to as Commitments - which need to be addressed jointly by both Government and the VCS in order to improve relationships and deliver improved services.

The Voluntary and Community Group (known as the VCG) was established to support the implementation and delivery of the “Concordat between the Voluntary and Community Sector and Government” by enabling engagement and collaboration within the sector to develop the relationship between government and the sector.

A new VCG was selected in August 2012 by a sub group of the NICVA Executive Committee and the new membership spans the sector. When choosing new members, gender balance, geographical representation, sectoral balance and size of organisation were all taken into account to make sure the sector would be represented in a balanced way.

The new members of the VCG are;



Anne O’Reilly

Age NI (Chair of VCG and Joint Chair of Joint Forum)

Marie Cavanagh

Gingerbread NI (Vice Chair)

Chris Quinn

Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Colin Devine

North West Community Network

Fergus Cooper

Save the Children NI

Geoff Nuttall


Glenda Davies

Sandy Row Community Forum

John McCormick

Carers NI

Jonny Currie

East Belfast Community Development Agency

Kevin Doherty

Disability Action

Kevin Murphy

Voluntary Arts Ireland

Anne McVicker

Women’s Resource and Development Agency

Kate Clifford 

Rural Community Network

Seamus McAleavey


Geraldine Hanna

Victim Support

Independent Observer 
Eddie McDowell Churches Community Work Alliance


The key responsibilities of the VCG include promoting dialogue and joined up working with government; discussing and implementing the VCS strategy and policy issues on a co-operative basis; identifying key issues and agreeing a common approach where possible; and to play a key role in the Joint Forum.

The VCG members have also been working as part of the Concordat Action Teams on the issues of sector influencing and impacting on government policy, examining how to implement outcome focused funding and dealing with the issue of compliance with the commitments as outlined in the Concordat.

Secretariat and overall responsibility for the VCG lies with NICVA. NICVA also shares responsilibity for secretariat of the overall Joint Forum with the Voluntary and Community Unit in DSD.

For more information please contact Lisa McElherron ([email protected]) or Jenny McEneaney ([email protected]

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