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 Michael Donnelly, the Department's Head of Voluntary and Community Unit 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 Unit leads the Public Sector Group and Anne O’Reilly leads the Voluntary and Community Group. 

Joint Forum memberships

Public Sector Group

Member Department
Elaine Colgan  DHSSPS
Carolyn Barr  DFP
Kathryn Semple  DFP
Damian Brady  DCAL
Janet Johnston  DOJ
Jackie Gregg  DRD
Colin Jack  DEL
Peter Robinson  OFMDFM
Jeff Johnston  DOE
Vince McKevitt  DARD
David Savage  DENI
Rozzi Langford  DETI
Elaine Downey  DSD
Cate Taggart  SOLACE
Alison McCullagh  NILGA

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

Joint Forum terms of reference

The following are the terms of reference for the Joint Forum, the Public Sector Group and the Voluntary and Community Sector Group:

Joint Forum record of meetings

Following are records of the most recent meetings:

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.

You can read Annual Reports on the Concordat between the Voluntary and Community Sector and the Northern Ireland Government:

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.



Back to top