Help shape proposals for a 'VCSE Sectoral Advisory Panel' for Belfast

Closed 9 Sep 2019

Opened 11 Jul 2019


Belfast Community Planning Partnership values the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors  and is eager to deepen its partnership in recognition of the energy, ideas and contribution that these sectors make.  In strengthening our approach, the Partnership is keen to facilitate both greater levels of involvement and a shift towards co-production and collaborative approaches to deliver the improved outcomes for our citizens that our city aspires to in the Belfast Agenda.

To begin to bring this commitment to reality, the Community Planning Partnership has been engaging with the organisations and groups across these sectors – during March 2019, the Community  Planning Partnership held a series of workshop conversations with VCSE sector participants to shape early proposals for strengthening participation . A summary of the feedback received during this engagement is available to download by clicking here.

In building our approach we have reflected on what people told us to further develop proposals that enable:

  • Participation in Community Planning Partnership structures – People told us this type of participation needs to ensure that any arrangements provide a balanced view across the VCSE sectors, taking into account the whole geographical area of Belfast and the range of thematic and other interests of the sectors. The statutory guidance for community planning also requires the Community Planning Partnership to be satisfied that there is an accountable structure and mandate for those representatives attending the Partnership to reflect the views and interests of others in the VCSE sectors. 

To do this we are developing proposals to establish a ‘Sectoral Advisory Panel’ - We are keen to hear your views on the role and purpose of the panel, how its membership might be comprised and established, and how it might operate.

  • A vibrant, visible and managed approach to sector wide awareness raising, communication, engagement and consultation in relation to community planning, that maximises opportunities for the wider sector to input their views at key points in the community planning process.

We are proposing to build our communications and engagement strategy via the creation of a Belfast VCSE sectors network, promoting 2 way information flow, through both online (website platform and email updates), social media and a programme of Sectoral engagement events throughout the year.

  • Ensuring effective and appropriate levels of VCSE sectors participation in working groups and action planning activity to maximise the value of these inputs – People told us that it is important not to create new structures or forums where these exist already, and that any arrangements should utilise these networks where possible.

We are not proposing to create new forums or networks at this stage for this purpose. Instead we are proposing to build the Community Planning Partnership’s stakeholder intelligence (to ensure focussed participation in these forms of engagement is targeted at those organisations and groups who are best placed to contribute) via:

  • Knowledge, expertise and relationships of the Sectoral Advisory Panel members
  • Community Planning Partners existing links to VCSE sectors organisations and networks
  • Building a Belfast VCSE sectors network to allow organisations to register interest and contact details (see below).
  • As as immediate step we are encouraging Action leads within our partnership to engage with, and strengthen VCSE participation of relevant groups and networks as part of this work.

Why we are consulting

We are currently seeking feedback to further shape the emerging proposals for the Sectoral Advisory Panel outlined above. In the following sections of this questionnaire, we ask for your views on key elements to inform how the Panel might operate. The elements we are asking you to comment on are:

  1. Purpose and role of the Sectoral Advisory Panel
  2. Principles and draft code of conduct
  3. Roles and responsibilities of Panel Members and the Chair person
  4. Membership – process and criteria for selection
  5. Operational details – number of meetings per year, agendas, minutes etc.
  6. Reporting arrangements; and
  7. Any additional comments

This online questionnaire is available for feedback until 31st August 2019.

A paper based version of the questionnaire is also available upon request by emailing

We plan to hold a further information event on next steps and proposals for implementation in due course once the proposals are agreed. Further details on upcoming events will be available on our website You can also sign up to our community planning mailing list.


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