The Joint 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.

Joint Forum chairs

Joint Government Voluntary and Community Sector Forum
Joint Government Voluntary and Community Sector Forum

The Joint Chairs are Arthur Scott, the Director of Voluntary and Community Division, and Anne O’Reilly, NI Rural Women’s Network. The Forum meets three times a year.

Elaine Downey, Head of Public Sector Engagement in the Voluntary and Community Division, leads the Public Sector Group, and Anne O’Reilly, leads the Voluntary and Community Group. 

Joint Forum memberships

Public Sector Group

Department Member Alternate CC only
DAERA Niall Heaney Pauline Keegan  
DfC     Anne Rogers
DfE Alan Russell Bobby Clulow  
DE David Savage    
DFP Gavin Quinn Deirdre McMullan (cc)  
DoH Pamela Mallon Paul Skillen  
DoJ Louise Cooper    
DfI Gabrielle Kerr Bernard McClure  
NILGA Alison McCullagh Karen Smyth (cc)  
TEO Grainne Killen Jamie Warnock  
SOLACE Cate Taggart Clare Mullen (CC)  

Voluntary Sector Group

Member Organisation Website
Anne McVicker Womens Resource & Development
Anne O'Reilly NI Rural Women's Network
Chris Quinn NI Youth Forum
Colin Devine North West Community Network
Duane Farrell Age NI
Eddie McDowell Churches Community Work Alliance  
Fergus Cooper Save the Children NI
Geraldine Hanna  Victim Support NI
Glenda Davies Sandy Row Community Forum
Helen Ferguson  Carers NI
Jonny Currie East Belfast Partnership
Kevin Doherty Disability Action NI
Kevin Murphy Voluntary Arts Ireland
Lisa McElherron NICVA
Marie Cavanagh Gingerbread NI  
Seamus McAleavey NICVA

The Concordat

The Concordat is a framework which underpins a shared vision between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector to work together as social partners to build a participative, peaceful, equitable and inclusive community in Northern Ireland. The shared values and principles of the Forum are set out in the Concordat between the voluntary and community sector and the NI government.

Through collaboration the Forum seek to fulfil a number of key commitments outlined in the concordat that will open up opportunities which will benefit society.

Commitment Action Teams

Commitment Action Teams take forward key issues set out in the Concordat.  Each team is made up of Joint Forum representatives from both the public and voluntary and community sectors and where appropriate, external representation is sought when particular expertise is required.

Current projects

  • outcome-focused approach to funding
  • concordat compliance monitoring
  • communications
  • addressing bureaucracy

Completed projects

  • influence and examine the impact of government policy 


For general enquiries please contact the Joint Forum Secretariat Voluntary and Community Engagement Team.



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