Joint Government and Voluntary Sector Forum (Joint Forum)
The Joint Forum is made up of representatives from central and local government and the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.
It was established in October 1998 with the purpose of promoting regular dialogue between the voluntary and community sector and Government departments.
The Joint Forum was established with the overarching aim of:
”develop[ing] and lead[ing] an effective working relationship between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector in Northern Ireland”.
Joint Forum Representatives
The Joint Forum is comprised of both Public Sector (PSG) and Voluntary and Community Sector representatives (VCS Panel).
The Public Sector (PSG) comprises representatives from across the public sector with coordination by the Voluntary and Community division in the Department for Communities (DfC) as Secretariat.
The Voluntary and Community Sector panel (VCS Panel) currently comprises 15 representatives from across the wider Voluntary and Community Sector. It is chaired by a VCS panel member Chair and Deputy Chair, who are nominated by panel members and is supported by NICVA as secretariat. VCS panel members are selected by a sub-committee of the NICVA Executive following an open nomination process.
These two groupings make up the Joint Forum and in partnership are charged with taking forward the Forums Work Plan and in helping establish its future direction.
Joint Forum Chairs & Secretariat
The Joint Forum is jointly chaired currently by Denise Hayward, Volunteer Now and Sharron Russell , Department for Communities, Voluntary and Community Division.
The Joint Forum's work is supported by NICVA and the Voluntary and Community Division in the Department for Communities (DfC) as joint secretariat.
Voluntary and Community Sector Panel
The current VCS Panel Members are as follows:
- Anna Clarke – Prospect Community (*appointed September 2021)
- Aoife Mallon – Womens Resource Development Agency (WRDA) (*appointed December 2022)
- Bob Stronge – Advice NI (Deputy Chair VCS Panel)
- Charlie Fisher -Development Trusts NI
- Chris Eisenstadt - BookTrust (*appointed December 2022)
- Colm McDaid – Supporting Communities
- Denise Hayward – (JF Joint Chair/Chair VCS Panel ) –Volunteer Now
- Gareth Eannetta - NIACRO (*appointed August 2021)
- Judith Poucher – Clanrye Group
- Karen Smith -Disability Action
- Kevin Hanratty –Human Rights Consortium
- Loraine Griffin – COSTA
- Noeleen Lynch- Community Transport Association (*appointed December 2022)
- Paula Powell - British Red Cross (*appointed August 2021)
- Róisín Wood - Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (*appointed December 2022)
Public Sector Group/Membership
The PSG comprises representatives from across both central and local government , with coordination by the Voluntary and Community division in the Department for Communities (DfC) as secretariat.
The Public Sector Group Contact/Leads are:
Sharron Russell (JF Joint Chair), Department for Communities (DfC)
Bebhinn Ni Bhriain, Department for Communities - Lead Contact/Joint Secretariat (DfC)
Recent Joint Forum meetings
Recent Joint Forum meetings of the current 20-23 term have taken place on the following dates:
- 23rd June 2021, 11am-1pm, Online Meeting. You can read more about this meeting here.
- 13th October 2021 , 11am-1pm Online Meeting.You can read more about this meeting here.
- 22nd February 2022 , 2pm-4pm Online Meeting.You can read more about this meeting here.
- 13th April 2022 , 10 am -12.30 pm. In person Meeting.
- 27th September 2022 , 10 am -12.30 pm. In person Meeting.
- 15th June 2023 , 11 am -1.30 pm. In person Meeting. You can read more about this meeting here.
- 28th September 2023, 11 am -1.30 pm. In person Meeting.
Date of next Joint Forum Meeting:
The next full Joint Forum meeting is due to be held on Thursday 7th December 2023.
If you have a query regarding the work of the VCS Panel or the Joint Forum, please contact NICVA secretariat via [email protected]. More Joint Forum news and updates can be viewed via the links below.
A meeting of the Joint Forum will take place on 17 October 2019 at NICVA.
The next meeting of the Joint Forum is due to take place on 6 June 2019 at the Colin Healthy Living Centre in Belfast.
The second Joint Forum meeting of the year took place on 19th June in the East Belfast Network Centre. The meeting was attended by representatives from voluntary and community organisations and the public sector.
The first Joint Forum meeting of the year took place on 26th March 2018 in NICVA. The meeting was attended by representatives from voluntary and community organisations, local and central government departments.
The Joint Forum voluntary and community panel seeks a new sector representative in light of a vacancy.
A meeting of the Joint Forum took place on 27th October 2017 in NICVA. The meeting was attended by representatives from voluntary and community organisations, local government and central government departments.
The Voluntary and Community Sector panel got together last Tuesday 17 October ahead of the Joint Forum meeting between the public sector and voluntary and community taking place on Friday 27 October 2017.
The new Voluntary and Community Sector Joint Forum panel has now been appointed and the had their inaugural meeting on 19 May in Girdwood Community Hub.
A new VCG was selected in April 2017 by a sub group of the NICVA Executive Committee and the new membership spans the sector.
The Joint Forum is comprised of public sector and voluntary and community sector individuals.