Role of the voluntary and community sector debated at DUP party conference

NICVA Chief Executive Seamus McAleavey participated in a panel discussion on Reforming Government and Financing Public Services, as part of the DUP annual party conference

This year’s conference, held in the La Mon hotel, boasted the largest turn out ever recorded by the party.  The panel discussion, which was chaired by Simon Hamilton MLA, included Ministers Nelson McCausland and Edwin Poots as well as Nevin Ringland, Chief Executive of Praxis. 

Speakers from the floor asked Seamus about how voluntary and community organisations can deliver effective and efficient services as well as questions on the impact of cuts to public expenditure on vulnerable people and communities.  Seamus took the opportunity to outline how the voluntary and community sector has been engaging in the debate around the budget and spending review and outlined how voluntary and community organisations can offer some of the solutions to difficult financial decisions that lie ahead.

Speaking after the panel discussion Seamus McAleavey said “NICVA was really pleased to be asked to contribute to this important debate. It was important for us to engage with DUP members on this issue as well as continuing our influencing work with elected members – so we were particularly happy to be able to respond to questions from the floor.”

The panel discussion took place just before Finance Minister Sammy Wilson addressed the conference. During his address Minister Wilson said that the Executive must face the challenge of agreeing a budget, act quickly to inject certainty into departments, agencies and organisations which rely on public funding and instil confidence back into the economy in order to attract investment.

Once again the voluntary and community sector was well represented among the exhibitors at the conference and the atmosphere was buzzing with people from voluntary and community organisations taking the opportunity to have conversations with Ministers, MLA’s, Councillors, party members and party staff.