The health & wellbeing of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland is dependent on the volunteers who give time to become members of Management Committees/Trustees. Their volunteer role is pivotal in providing the leadership and accountability for all of the work and activities undertaken by thousands of organisations.
The last major study of the governance role of voluntary management committees in Northern Ireland was undertaken in 2003 and a report published ‘Committee Matters: An assessment of the characteristics, training needs and governance role of voluntary management committees in Northern Ireland’. This research was commissioned by the then Volunteer Development
Agency and the research was undertaken by the NICVA research Unit.
Given the change in charity legislation, the establishment of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the many challenges facing organisations and groups across
the voluntary and community sector, the VSB Foundation considered it was timely to undertake a comprehensive research project that involves asking Committee Members/Trustees and organisations their views.
The VSB Foundation commissioned Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd to undertake research into the governance of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.
The 2015 research set out to:
– Revisit the 2003 research findings of Committee Matters and compare with what governance of the voluntary and community sector looks like in 2015
– Consider if the needs of and issues facing Management Committee members/Trustees have
changed over the last decade.
The research focuses attention on the role of Management Committees/Trustee Boards and the
findings will inform the sector, funders, policy makers and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland regarding important governance issues that relate to thecurrent and future sustainability of the sector.
The research project commenced in July 2015 with the establishment of a Research Advisory Group chaired by John Hunter (Chairperson of the Corrymeela Council) and with representation from VSB Foundation, Department for Social Development, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, NICVA, Developing Governance Group (Youthnet), CO3, University of Ulster, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, NI Sports Forum, Youth Council for Northern Ireland, Rural Community Network, the Fermanagh Trust and Volunteer Now.
As Chairperson of the VSB Foundation I would like to thank the Advisory Group for their valuable input and insight in support of this important and timely research
project. Thanks are also due to the staff of Volunteer Now Enterprises Limited for conducting the research and writing the report.