Accessing Employer Support and HR Resources

This article aims to signpost organisations in the VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) sector to practical and often free sources of support for human resources and employment matters.


Employing people, in some cases for the first time, can feel like a daunting experience for organisations who perhaps don't have in house HR support to hand. This article aims to bring together some excellent sources of HR resources and guidance which are readily accessible and mostly free, to enable organisations in our sector to put in place excellent people management practices. 

HR Documents and Templates

There are many free HR resources available to help organisations implement good people practices including template letters, policy documents and general HR documentation. Some of these valuable online resources are noted below:

  • The Invest Northern Ireland Employers' Handbook, found on the Employment and Skills section of the NIBusinessinfo website, provides guidance and supporting policies and templates for most elements within the employment lifecycle from recruiting new employees to redundancy practices. 
  • The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) has a section on their website containing model employment policies including one I am most commonly asked for, an Equal Opportunities Policy
  • In 2022, the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) launched its Employment Document Toolkit which was developed to help existing and growing businesses navigate the variety of employment regulations through the provision of guidance notes, sample policy templates and letters, webinars and pro formas to create bespoke documents, such as statements of main terms and conditions. 
  • NICVA also publishes all its employment policies in the Staff Handbook section of the NICVA website for reference only for organisations benchmarking or developing their own HR policies. 

Training and Learning Opportunities

The following organisations offer some free or paid for training on HR and equality matters online or in person as listed below:

HR Guidance and Support

There are a number of options for accessing advice and guidance on HR issues:

  • For employment advice (for both employers and employees), the LRA has a Workplace Information Service. This is a telephone advice line for enquiries about employment rights and responsibilities.
  • The ECNI provides Advisory Services on the equality implications of employing and managing staff by telephone and email. 
  • NICVA provides free advice and guidance on general employment and HR matters to managers or board members of organisations in the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland. This service can be accessed by calling NICVA on 028 9087 7777.
  • HR Consultants can provide bespoke and in depth HR support to organisations in the VCSE sector. There are many private organisations/individuals providing this service. For further information on HR Consultants with experience in our sector, please contact NICVA on 028 9087 7777.

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