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Scoping for collaborative policy solutions to poverty in Northern Ireland

JRF and public policy forum Pivotal are working together to consider JRF’s role in Northern Ireland and how we can contribute to driving down poverty, destitution and economic insecurity.

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JRF is keen to increase our efforts to drive down poverty in Northern Ireland, but to do it in partnership, and avoid displacing the crucial work already happening.

Following a call for proposals we have appointed Pivotal, an independent public policy forum based in Northern Ireland, to lead this work in partnership with the Northern Ireland teams of both Save the Children UK and the Trussell Trust.

Insight gathering

From September to November 2023, Pivotal and partners will run one-to-one interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders working across multiple sectors tackling poverty and destitution. Invites to these conversations will be circulated via Pivotal shortly. They will help:

  1. Establish a clear picture of work already being undertaken, both in service delivery and in policy and campaigning, and to identify the organisations and initiatives that are particularly active.
  2. Increase understanding of the key challenges and opportunities relating to tackling poverty and destitution and how these relate to particular themes.
  3. Identify gaps in policy/campaigning work that, if addressed, have the potential to contribute to tackling poverty and destitution and so may help to define the scope of any new initiative.

This crucial insight gathering will inform recommendations around:

  1. Capacity in relevant organisations, and initiatives with a co-ordinated social policy approach.
  2. The structure for any new initiative including JRF and potential partners.
  3. Any funding required, and where partner funds (in addition to JRF) might come from.

Feeding back

Pivotal will present the findings of their research, grounded in stakeholders’ knowledge and experience of the policy and delivery landscape in Northern Ireland, to JRF by the end of the year. This will recommend how additional anti-poverty social policy capacity in Northern Ireland could be designed – outlining possible opportunities for governance, partnership, funding, JRF’s role, and the rationale for the proposed solutions.

As noted in the initial call for proposals, we are open minded to any recommendation to come out of the project, but are minded to build a collaborative solution which allows us to invest in and contribute to a solution that can have a sustainable and significant impact on improving the quality of life of people in Northern Ireland. Pivotal and partners will be exploring this during the project but clearly JRF will have a crucial role to play in coalescing possible partners and/or funders as recommendations develop.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch with Chris Birt at or Annie McKenzie at