The Joint Government/Voluntary and Community Sector Forum is commonly known as the Joint Forum. The Forum is made up of representatives from central and local Government (Public Sector Group) and the Voluntary and Community Sector (Voluntary and Community Group), and provides a mechanism to facilitate open discussion of key issues which shape the relationship between the voluntary and community and the public sectors.

The Forum

The Forum has been in operation since 1998 with an overarching aim “to develop and lead an effective working relationship between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector in Northern Ireland”.

The operation of the Joint Forum is facilitated by Department for Communities and the NI Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).

The Forum is jointly chaired by the Director of the Department’s Voluntary and Community Division and a member nominated by the Voluntary and Community Group.

Public sector membership includes representatives from all nine Government departments as well as local government representatives nominated by Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers and Northern Ireland Local Government Association   .  The current Voluntary and Community Group for the Joint Forum for the period 2020-23 was selected by the NICVA Executive Committee and its membership spans the sector.

A list of the current Voluntary & Community sector Group membership and current Chairs is available.

Joint Forum agenda

A work plan is developed to support the three inter-related functions of the Forum:

  • to Act as Forum for discussion of Shared Issues.
  • to Build Relationships and Mutual Understanding.
  • shape Policy and Practice.

Further information on current work plans as well as details of recent Joint Forum meetings is available.


For general enquiries please contact the Joint Forum Secretariat:

Public sector Group -
Voluntary & Community Group-

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