Membership criteria

The Northwest Forum of People with Disabilities is a human rights organisation 100% led by disabled people.

Currently our members include people with sensory, physical, hidden and people with mental health and learning disabilities.


Membership of the Northwest Forum

The Forum welcomes members from all different backgrounds regardless of gender, age (18 plus), sexuality, religion or political opinion or economic and social background.

To be a member of the Forum you must be a person with a disability aged at least 18. You must agree with the Forum’s mission statement and objectives. Be open to the views of others and work for the collective interests of disabled people. Agree to a short induction session to learn about the Forum and its activities including the services it provides. Share your experience and expertise with Forum members to advance the mission and objectives of the Northwest Forum.

All work of the Forum must be agreed by the Committee, and be consistent with the mission statement and objectives of the Forum.


Remuneration and Expenses

All work with the Northwest Forum is voluntary, depending on funds available expenses incurred working with the Forum may be reimbursed either partially or in full depending on available resources - meals and travel must be supported by receipts or other supporting evidence - letter or communication from Committee member or independent third party is accepted in lieu of receipts in “limited circumstances” and shall be kept under review and agreed by Committee.


Acting as a Representative or Advocate of the Northwest Forum

Representatives of the Forum on Governmental bodies, Ad-hoc Committees, Public Authorities, Community and Voluntary Networks are voted and agreed upon by the Committee.

Advocates appointed by the Northwest Forum can advise individual clients or their representatives in a number of ways, but the wishes of the client are paramount unless “exceptional circumstances” is deemed to apply. (See below)

  • Listen to the client
  • Take instructions from the client
  • Agree desired and potential outcomes
  • Agree appropriate referral to outside agency or third party if appropriate
  • Comply with data protection regulations
  • No payments or goods are permitted in exchange for services (contracted services by another organisation, to assist third party clients are an exception and should comply with any contractual agreement were monies or goods maybe exchanged)
  • Charitable donations are accepted but should not be solicited or encouraged
  • Our advocacy services are free of charge to disabled people or those acting on our clients behalf unless otherwise stated and understood in the original terms agreed with the client
  • No action should be taken without the explicit knowledge and consent of the client unless exceptional circumstances apply please see meaning below
  • No promises should be made to the client regarding the successful outcome of individual cases, beyond the commitment to work to the highest standard in the clients’ best interests as determined and agreed by the client or persons acting on behalf of the client, such as parent or guardian or person so designated by the client


Confidentiality/Sensitivity and Consent

All cases brought to the attention of the Forum must have approval from the Committee for adoption. Progress reports must not identify any personal details of the client. Anonymity of the client, (unless with agreement from client anonymity is wavered or other exceptional circumstances is observed) is essential.


Exceptional Circumstances

If the Forum (its representatives, or advocates or persons designated to act on the Forum’s behalf) determine that any harm or detrimental situation has been established through our engagement with client/s or other persons all efforts should be to contact the relevant authorities such as the Social Services Gateway team and or/ the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) and any other relevant third party or agency.

Confidentiality does not override any circumstances or situation were the maintenance of such a practice would likely result in potential or actual harm to the individual client or other persons. Such cases are beyond the scope of the Forum and shall be immediately referred. All persons involved in the Forum’s activities have a duty both moral and legal to report such circumstances to the appropriate authority. Our primary responsibility is a duty of care to our client’s health and well-being.

All actions taken must be recorded including rational for those actions for examination by the Committee and communicated to the relevant third party/agency upon request to which the client is referred when exceptional circumstances are deemed to be in effect.

The Committee reserve the right to undertake a review of all policies practices and procedures at any time, including protocols adopted and procedures followed when exceptional circumstances outlined above has been or will be applied.