Public Affairs Team Autumn Update

A busy few months for the Policy and Public Affairs team. See some of our updates below.

New Team Member

We are delighted to be joined by new policy and public affairs team member Kathy Maguire. Kathy was previously Policy Manager at CHNI (Council for the Homeless NI), where she led on the organisations policy advocacy work in relation to youth homelessness and related issues. She has a keen policy interest in and knowledge of issues affecting individuals or groups who may be marginalised or socially excluded, including young people and homelessness and in promoting participatory approaches to public policy development and decision making. 

Health updates

Transforming health through Openness and Candour- North West Consultation event

Following on from the Department of Health’s consultation event in Belfast in June, a similar event was held for voluntary and community sector organisations in the North West. The focus of this work is on transforming the culture of the health service in Northern Ireland. Following the recommendations from the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-Related Deaths (IHRD). The Department of Health is engaged in a major drive to ensure health and social care services are open and transparent.

Reform of Adult Social Care

The Department of Health is holding an engagement workshop at NICVA to invite views of voluntary and community organisations of the proposals for the future of adult social care in NI. This workshop will take place on 29 November from 9.30am-1pm. More information and registration here.


NICVA hosted a DexEU briefing on 22 October aimed at organisations receiving EU funding from the Erasmus+ EU education and training exchange programme to answer questions from the sector about how existing funding commitments will be met and what EU or replacement funding may be available post-Brexit.

Despite another Brexit extension and ongoing uncertainty, we have attempted to pull together the relevant advice for the voluntary and community sector in NI to try to help organisations consider what changes may come about and what preparation may need to be undertaken.


NICVA has also been working with Queen’s University to encourage research with positive impacts for society, including advising on their ESRC Accelerated Impact Grants Programme whose second call for applications was issued on 21st October, by encouraging applicants to partner with sector organisations.

Joint Forum

The third Joint Forum meeting of 2019 took place on 17 October at NICVA. There was a full agenda for this meeting between the voluntary and community sector and the public sector with issues around Bureaucracy in government funding, Programme for Government, Brexit and Community Planning being discussed. Find out more these discussions here.

Party Conferences:

We will be hosting our NICVA Conversation Zone at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in the Millenium Forum in Derry on Saturday 16 November. If anyone has yet to register to attend email [email protected].

The UUP rescheduled conference is due to take place on 8 February 2020, at the Crowne Plaza, Shaw's Bridge.

SDLP have sent out a 'Save the Date' for their conference which is scheduled to take place 14-15 February 2020 in the Guildhall, Derry.

Sustainable Development Goals working group

Following on from our event looking at the role of the voluntary and community sector in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, NICVA, in partnership with the NI Environment Link are establishing a working group to further explore this. The first meeting of the working group took place on 7 October in NICVA where we were joined by Philip Hogg from DAERA to talk through NI’s input into the UN review of progress towards the SDGs. If you’re interested in being part of the working group, please get in touch with [email protected].

Public Affairs Forum

NICVA's Public Affairs Forum held a session in September with representative from Belfast CIty Council and NILGA to learn more about how our sector can best engage with the Council. This article provides useful tips and advice for engaging. We are now keen to run a similar enagement with Derry and Strabane District council which we hope will take place in the spring of 2020. The Public Affairs Forum is open to all NICVA members, get in touch if you're interested in joining.

Consultations & Events

NICVA and the NI Environment Link are hosting an event on NI's First Environment Strategy on 8 November. This event will  provide an opportunity for wider society to have their say on what they think the environment strategy for NI should look like. We want to ensure that we get a strategy that not only protects and enhances our environment, but also directly benefits all sectors of Northern Ireland society. 

More info and registration here. A short article about what's in the consultation, which you can read here. The consultation closes on 23 December 2019.

You may already be aware that the Department of Finance have a launched a consultation on Business Rates, which also will have a section around charity rates. The consultation can be viewed here. This consultation will close on 11 November.

General Election 2019??

It is still looking like we may have a December 2019 General Election. We'd advice organisations to familiarise yourself with the Electoral Commission's new guidance on 'non-party' campaigning- see here. 

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