Introduction to strategies and policies supporting the voluntary and community sector

We keep informed about policy developments affecting the voluntary and community sector and are committed to working with other Departments and with the sector on issues such as alternative financing models, contracting and procurement, support for social economy enterprises, asset transfer and support for philanthropy.


A key area of our business is to promote understanding of how the voluntary and community sector (the sector) is working towards increasing collaboration and merger and reducing grant dependency and find ways to support the work.

We also follow developments on evidence and impact measurement, focusing on outcomes, impact and cost effectiveness of the voluntary and community sector’s contribution to meeting social need.

Generalist advice services strategy

The Department is responsible for Generalist advice services strategy. This includes advice on issues like welfare benefits, housing, finance, consumer and employment issues. It involves the provision of initial broadly based advice services, with the option for referral to organisations which can provide more in-depth support. 

Supporting enterprise and innovation in the third sector

The Department has a key role in supporting Social Economy Enterprise (SEE) growth within the Sector and this is reflected in our Programme for Government commitment. Read more in the Supporting enterprise and innovation in the third sector section.

Support for faith based engagement

The Department’s aim is to promote the role of faith based organisations in serving the needs of disadvantaged communities across Northern Ireland. NICVA and RCN are currently our strategic partners helping deliver against our Faith Based Engagement Policy. You can read more in the Support for faith based engagement section.

Volunteering strategy

The Volunteering strategy and action plan aims to align activities across government, the sector and other stakeholders to re-energise and increase levels of volunteering. The strategy, which is accompanied by an action plan, aims to create the conditions under which volunteering activity within Northern Ireland can develop and flourish. 

Support for women in disadvantaged areas

We support the work of a regional network support organisation that has specific understanding of and experience working across the women’s sector, with a particular focus on the potential input made by women as mothers, home-makers and carers, living in areas of highest deprivation and marginalisation. Read the Joint policy statement Programme for Regional Support for Women in Disadvantaged Areas


If you have any queries please contact Voluntary and Community Unit.

Useful links

Back to top