NILGA Strategic Partners

NILGA Strategic Partners

NILGA has appointed seven Strategic Partners the work closely with the Association to help develop and inform practical and policy ideas for strengthening local government in Northern Ireland.

Gráinne Walsh - Stratagem

Head of Consultancy

Established in 1998 as the new Assembly took shape, Stratagem connects organisations with politics and gets results.

We take your issues and messages, apply our strategic, creative and political know-how, and provide you with the support you need to make meaningful impact.  Whether it is pressing for legislative change, or increasing awareness of your priorities, we can build you a strategy which delivers. 

Our team of experts from the world of politics, law and communications makes us Northern Ireland’s leading public affairs consultancy. We work across sectors, from manufacturing to energy, arts to business, charity and health. We navigate the process of converting ideas to outcomes. We are members of the Association of Professional Political Consultants.

Stratagem Website

Alan McVicker - Strategic Investment Board

Strategic Adviser

The projects the Strategic Investment Board works on have a significant positive impact for the citizens of Northern Ireland, protecting and improving the health, wealth and natural environments of the communities of the people who live here.

SIB supports a broad range of fascinating and often complex projects and programmes and my own experience within the organisation reflects this. My current workload ranges from promoting world class infrastructure to sustainably managing a variety of waste streams, to the regeneration of towns like Portrush, and more recently working on a digital enterprise project to be located on NI’s pilot Enterprise Zone. 

SIBNI Website

Paul O’Brien - Association for Public Services Excellence

Chief Executive

Association for Public Service Excellence is a not for profit local government body working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

APSE Website

Majella McCloskey - Centre for Effective Services

Senior Manager

The Centre for Effective Services (CES) is a not for profit, intermediary organisation with offices in Dublin and Belfast.  We connect policy, practice and research, helping to ensure the implementation of effective services, to improve the lives of people living across the island of Ireland. 

Effective Services Website

Michael McQuillan - Enterprise Northern Ireland

Chief Executive



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Enterprise Northern Ireland helps local business on three levels:

Enterprise Northern Ireland represents the interests of Local Enterprise Agencies and lobbies on behalf of small business. We ensure the Northern Ireland Executive and Committee for the Economy are fully briefed on business growth by enabling them to see progress at first hand.

Enteprise Northern Ireland provides a range of services for members, including continual professional development, networking events, joint purchasing, business development, policy papers, research and quality assurance. Working with and learning from other entrepreneurs is invaluable for a business start up.

Enterprise Northern Ireland has been responsible for delivering national contracts with various public sector organisations, with contracts delivered primarily by the member agencies. Programmes have included:

- Regional Start Initiative (Go For It)
- Social Entrepreneurship Programme
- Exploring Enterprise Programme
- Tradelinks programme
- Business Boot Camp

Business investment is fundamental in helping a business start up in Northern Ireland.  Our programmes are supported by access to small business finance through the Enterprise Northern Ireland Start Up Loan Fund and the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund.

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Enterprise NI Website

Nichola Hughes - Sustainable NI


Sustainable Northern Ireland came into existence in 1998 as a collaborative project of NI Environment Link, WWF and the Local Government Training Group. Our objective, then as now, was to promote the adoption of sustainable development principles by local authorities and other agencies of government.

Sustainable NI Website

Roger Pollen - Federation of Small Businesses

Head of External Affairs NI

FSB Northern Ireland has around 6,000 members – business owners who join for the benefits that membership brings to them individually, and because of the collective campaigning work that FSB undertakes to ensure the policy environment is one where small businesses can thrive


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Small businesses are at the core of the local economy. They account for 99.9% of all businesses in Northern Ireland and employ more people than all larger businesses and the entire public sector – combined!  Our team in Northern Ireland works closely with all the local political parties - engaging with local government, with the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, parliamentarians at Westminster, and the Civil Service, as well as with other stakeholders and strategic partners, to campaign for all small businesses.

We regularly make our voice heard in the media to highlight small business issues, and we ensure our members’ interests are being represented at all levels of government so that the priorities and concerns of the small business sector are considered.

Our market leading services also level the playing field for smaller businesses, so that they have 24/7 access to legal and employment advice, tax advice and much, much more.

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FSB Website

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