NICVA’s Policy and Public Affairs Quarterly Update Oct-Dec 2022
Representing Sector Concerns to Europe Post-Brexit
Over the last quarter, the Head of Policy of Public Affairs has represented sector interests and concerns around the post-Brexit funding and policy landscape in meetings with the European Commission, European Parliament, UK Government and NI Departments. This included a joint meeting of the EU and UK Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs) set up post-Brexit on which NICVA is now represented which resulted in a joint statement highlighting the importance of negotiated solutions to issues affecting UK and EU relations post-Brexit, such as the impacts of the NI/Ireland Protocol, so as to minimise the negative effects of disagreements on life and the lack of government in Northern Ireland. Other discussions in this period included –
- Meeting a Trade delegation from the European Parliament
- The UK House of Lords Sub-Committee on the NI/Ireland Protocol
- A meeting hosted in NICVA headquarters of the European Economic and Social Committee
- A meeting of the European Commission’s chief negotiating team on the UK/EU relations
Pressing for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to continue funding vital sector work on social and labour market inclusion post-Brexit
Following sustained lobbying and meetings with UK government departments both directly by NICVA and with the 60 plus organisations in NICVA’s ESF User Group which comprises all of the sector’s ESF recipients, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund’s NI ‘People and Skills’ programme opened for applications on 5th December 2022. Following NICVA and wider sector input into the programme design process, nearly 47% of the total NI UKSPF programme funding has been allocated to the ‘People and skills’ priority so important for supporting sector organisations to help vulnerable groups into training and employment.
Building the Sector’s Capacity to Lobby and Campaign in Support of its Goals
Over the last quarter, the Policy and Public Affairs Team held two training sessions designed to give sector representatives and organisations the skills and knowledge they need to lobby government at local Council, Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, and UK levels in support of their aims. The latter session held on the 9th December, included a panel discussion with former Green Party MLA and Councillor Rachel Woods, Carers NI Policy & Public Affairs Manager, Craig Harrison, and policy manager and researcher for Claire Hanna, MP. The panel provided invaluable insights into how voluntary and community organisations can most effectively engage with politicians and political parties to advance their agendas.
One Planet NICVA Group Celebrates successful progress on NICVA’s Journey to Net Zero and Environmental Sustainability
On 13th December, over mince pies, the Head of Policy and Public Affairs led NICVA’s internal ‘One Planet NICVA’ environmental sustainability group in a celebration of the work carried out since 2019 to become more environmentally sustainable and advance towards Net Zero carbon emissions. Read more here.
Lobbying for an Extension of Energy Support for the Sector
In the last quarter the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced information on support available for energy consumers in Northern Ireland.
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (Northern Ireland) is available for non-domestic customers including charities and voluntary organisations. This discount on energy bills began in November 2022, back dated to October and is sue to run until March 2023 with plans to review at the end of this year.
NICVA has written to all MP’s in Northern Ireland urging them to contact the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, to highlight the need for an extension of support beyond March 2023.
NICVA members have also been encouraged to contact their local Elected Representatives highlighting the impact the loss of this support with have on their organisations and their ability to help those in need.
You can view full details on all Energy Support Schemes, for both domestic and no domestic customers here.
Research update: September 2022 - December 2022
Each year, NICVA updates the Profile section of State of the Sector. This year’s update includes details on the workforce composition of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland, income of registered charities in Northern Ireland and purpose and locations of charities. The full update will be released in January 2023.
Individual Giving Survey 2023
Each year, NICVA gathers information on charitable giving from members of the public in Northern Ireland through the Individual Giving Survey. The Individual Giving Survey includes issues such as methods of giving, types of donations, legacies, social media giving and fundraising regulation. This year, NICVA has commissioned an external company to undertake this survey in January 2023. Results will be released in March 2023.
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