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Volunteer Office Holder – Northern Ireland Policy Unit (NIPU) Member

Role Description

The Context

FSB is seeking members for its Northern Ireland Policy Unit. These members will be appointed by the UK Policy Director, after consulting with the Northern Ireland Policy Unit Chair. Any eligible member can nominate themselves for the role, by completing and returning the self-nomination form. They can also attach supportive information outlining why they consider that they would be the best nominee for the role. Appointments will aim to be made by 31 December 2017 to commence 01 January 2018.

The Role

As members of the Northern Ireland Policy Unit, members will be responsible for informing and helping to develop FSB Northern Irelands’ policy and influence agenda. Although the member will have a responsibility to faithfully represent the views of members in their sector or area, their primary duty is to FSB as a whole. They must exercise their responsibilities in what the Northern Ireland Policy Chair considers to be the best interests of FSB.

The Task

It is recognised that the members who volunteer for the Northern Ireland Policy Unit have their own businesses to run and have a limited amount of time available for FSB activity. For this reason volunteers are supported by FSB Northern Ireland office staff. The key areas where your experience would be utilised would be as below:
  • To act as a contact for FSB Northern Ireland with stakeholders within Northern Ireland including MLAs, MPs and local councils. 
  • To gather intelligence on emerging changes in policies of key Northern Ireland stakeholders and the key decision makers, to feed into the unit.
  • To support Northern Ireland and broader UK campaigns.
  • To attend meetings of the Northern Ireland Policy Unit as and when required.
  • To understand relevant FSB Northern Ireland policy, talking to relevant special interest groups, members and the FSB Northern Ireland office. 
  • To disseminate policy information within their region or sector (published via official FSB Northern Ireland policy reports and other information from the Unit) and provide the conduit back to the Unit on small business issues within their region or sector.
  • To ensure that policy pronouncements in their region or sector comply with agreed FSB Northern Ireland policy positions.
  • To play a key role on local or subject specific correspondence with figures, such as MLAs, MPs, MEPs and Council Leaders, in line with the overall Northern Ireland Business Plan.  National correspondence to MLAs and MPs remains the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Office team.
  • To liaise with the Northern Ireland Office press team in response to any media request received; and to act on their handling advice.
  • To adhere to FSB Northern Ireland established member policy, procedures and constitution at all times. 
  • To attend and speak at internal and external meetings when agreed with the Northern Ireland Policy Chair. 


  • Northern Ireland Policy Unit members are responsible for the proper conduct of their representative role, as the authoritative conduit between the membership and the Northern Ireland Policy Unit. 
  • Unit members are not authorised to say, nor shall they imply, that FSB funding may be available for any activities. 

Internal Reporting

  • To submit brief reports to the Northern Ireland Policy Unit members as agreed with the Northern Ireland Policy Unit or, when appropriate, the Northern Ireland Policy Chair. 
  • To report to their region or sector on the work carried out by the unit. 
  • To take part in appointments to bodies in their region or sector as directed by the Northern Ireland Policy Unit.
  • To notify the Northern Ireland Policy Chair, (via the FSB Northern Ireland office), of any intention to stand in an external election.
  • To meet internal administrative requirements, including financial, contained in the Finance Regulations or as prescribed by the UK Policy Director.  

The Person 

This is a volunteer role and requires you to be a fully paid up member of FSB. We do welcome new members to stand for this representative role, but if non-members wish to be considered they will need to join as a member first. In order to participate fully in policy discussions you will need to have an active interest & knowledge of policy issues relevant to small businesses, and be able to demonstrate knowledge of your sector or area of expertise. You will also need to have an existing network of contacts to decision makers in the relevant stakeholder organisations, and be able to demonstrate good communication/advocacy skills.


  • The Northern Ireland Policy Unit Member Nomination form and any attached supportive information will be considered by the NIPU Chair and, at their absolute discretion, recommended for appointment by the UK Policy Director.  The UK Policy Director’s decision shall be final and there is no appeal. 
  • All appointments are subject to the consultation of the Board of Directors.
  • Where the UK Policy Director is unable to appoint an Office Holder the full nomination process can be repeated.

Payment and Expenses

The detailed arrangements will be confirmed in due course