Jordan’s Minister for Social Development visits Belfast

NI-CO were privileged to recently host the Minister for Social Development in Jordan, Her Excellency Minister Hala Lattouf to Belfast. The Minister’s visit follows the successful delivery of one of NI-CO’s largest EU funded programmes in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan  which saw a number of Northern Ireland’s leading social care experts travel to Amman to work alongside their counterparts in the development of a more robust and inclusive social protection system.

The three day programme to Belfast allowed Minister Lattouf to explore, at first-hand, the recent innovations in NI’s social services provision including the support networks we provide for vulnerable groups and victims of domestic and sexual violence.  As well as meeting with senior government officials in the Department of Health to discuss policy and budget issues, the Minister had the rare opportunity to visit a range of specialist projects in Northern Ireland dedicated to safeguarding the most vulnerable in our society. At MACs Supporting Children & Young People, Cedar Foundation, Ardkeen Supported Living, Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre and Woman’s Aid, Minster Latouff examined the latest initiatives for supporting mental health, homelessness, disability, abuse and youth justice.

It is hoped that the Minister’s visit to Northern Ireland will prompt further reform in Jordan and foster stronger working relations between Amman and Belfast in the future.


By | 2017-11-15T14:08:11+00:00 November 9th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Jordan’s Minister for Social Development visits Belfast

Always Check the Label !

UK shares best practice with Algeria in food labelling and Consumer Education

NI-CO recently organised a study programme for 7 senior government officials from Algeria to visit the UK to learn about effective food labelling and consumer education with regards to food nutritional values.

The visit was organised under the EU funded institutional twinning project which NI-CO has been delivering in Algeria since January 2017: Support to the Institutional framework for the collection, processing and promotion of information in relation to consumer protection and was designed to allow participants to experience at first-hand how the UK’s leading consumer protection authorities are helping to tackle problems of diabetes, obesity and heart disease through targeted consumer education initiatives.

During the 5 day programme, delegates were hosted by Invest Northern Ireland, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (TSI), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Haringey Council to learn about the management, planning and operational challenges of effective consumer protection programmes which meet EU and WTO standards. Presentations and interactive workshops were delivered on consumer policy and enforcement, emergency planning and resilience, food labelling and healthy catering campaigns. At the end of the week officials were given the opportunity to visit the Wolfson Institute in the University of London and the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) at UK Health Forum to explore the UK’s latest advances in preventing obesity-related ill-health through targeted consumer education programmes to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fat consumption.

By | 2017-11-07T13:19:20+00:00 November 7th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Always Check the Label !

NI-CO Associate appointed Honorary Consul for Bulgaria

NI-CO would like to extend our congratulations to our Social Policy Adviser, Mr Paul Martin CBE who has been appointed by the Bulgarian Government as Honorary Consul for Northern Ireland.

As well as being the main contact point for Bulgaria’s Embassy in the UK and the Bulgarian community in Northern Ireland, Mr Martin will facilitate cultural and business ties between the 2 countries.

Congratulating Mr Martin on his new role, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy, Dr Andrew McCormick said:  “Developing international links is hugely important for Northern Ireland’s future as we continue to share opportunities to work together and develop links in trade, investment and tourism.  I wish Paul well in his new post and look forward to working with him on issues of mutual interest in the future.”

Mr Martin takes up the appointment following a prestigious public service career spanning 38 years which saw him rise to the position of Chief Social Services Officer for the NI Assembly.

It was following his retirement in 2008 that Mr Martin first established links with Bulgaria when he was appointed as NI-CO’s EU Resident Twinning Advisor to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in Sofia.  During the 2 year post, Mr Martin nurtured a close working relationship with government bodies and NGO’s across Bulgaria and welcomes this opportunity to extend those strong links through this appointment. Speaking at the opening of the Consulate Office Mr Martin stated “I am honoured to be offered this appointment and look forward to doing what I can to assist Bulgarian citizens who come to visit, work or reside here. Furthermore I will endeavour to promote trade and business links as well as promoting cultural, tourism and cultural exchanges”.


By | 2017-10-16T13:12:13+00:00 October 16th, 2017|News|Comments Off on NI-CO Associate appointed Honorary Consul for Bulgaria

Tristan da Cunha – Island Doctors(s) or Medical Team required starting early-mid 2018

Requirements: Doctor with broad skills mix and proven experience of Primary Care, General Surgery, Anaesthetics and Obstetrics.
Medical Team with the above skills mix comprising of 2 Doctors or 1 Doctor accompanied by an experienced registered nurse/paramedic.

Full registration with the UK General Medical Council (GMC) or similar recognised Medical or relevant Nursing/Paramedical Board required.

We accept individual applications from experienced self-sufficient doctors. Consideration would however be given to the deployment of a medical team. We invite suggestions for such a team in
your application.

Please download Combined Information Application pack – TDC MO

Please download Skills requirement Tristan da Cunha 2017

Please download Advert

By | 2017-10-13T09:56:24+00:00 October 13th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Tristan da Cunha – Island Doctors(s) or Medical Team required starting early-mid 2018

Kazakhstan Sets Example in the CIS

NI-CO’s EU funded project in Kazakhstan has recently celebrated the opening of a one stop Justice Services Centre which will provide free services to the public. The Centre in Astana is the first of its kind in the CIS and represents a real breakthrough in transforming the post-soviet law supervisory state agency to a modern public service-oriented organization.

Located in the General Prosecutor’s Office building, the Centre will focus on the prompt resolution of complaints, raising the level of citizens’ trust in law enforcement and government bodies, whilst eliminating the administrative burdens and bureaucracy. Operating a ‘single window’ system, the Centre allows visitors access to prosecutors, lawyers, mediators and other specialists according to their needs while the effective use of technology widens the number of available services.

The Justice Services Centre is part of a wide reaching criminal justice reform programme in Kazakhstan which the NI-CO EUCJ project team has been delivering since October 2015. Throughout 2017, it is hoped that such centres will be established in other major cities throughout the country.



By | 2017-09-28T13:47:58+00:00 September 28th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Kazakhstan Sets Example in the CIS

Northern Ireland Share Nursing and Midwifery Expertise with Croatia


This month NI-CO was delighted to host a delegation of midwives, nursing professionals and academics from Croatia who were visiting Belfast to examine best practice in maternity and neonatal services.

The 5 day visit was organised under the auspices of a 12 month EU financed Institutional Twinning project which NI-CO has been delivering since early spring 2017. Designed to enhance the competences, knowledge and skills of nurses and midwives in line with Croatia’s new healthcare framework, the programme allowed delegates to explore Northern Ireland’s latest and most innovative developments in healthcare. During visits to the Department of Health, the NI Practice and Education Council and the Clinical Education Centre, the group learnt about the importance and value of collaborative working, data management and, perhaps most importantly, lifelong training and quality assurance. Senior practitioners from a number of local hospitals kindly gave up their time to speak to the delegation and share their personal experiences of NI’s award winning nurse mentoring programme which allows individual registrant nurses and midwives to develop professional knowledge and competence, assume responsibility for their own practice and enhance service-user protection, quality and safety.

As Croatia strives to implement changes to the existing healthcare model and improve the quality of clinical practice, these sessions provided an invaluable platform for lively debate and discussion on the benefits of mentorship, preceptorship, practice development initiatives and the development of a problem solving and questioning approach to practice issues enabled through portfolio development and work based learning facilitation. Over the next 6 months this learning will be put into practice as, together with NI-CO’s resident team in Zagreb, the delegates will contribute towards the development of a bespoke educational plan and programme for a mentoring system which shall facilitate the education of future generations of nurses and midwives across Croatia.

By | 2017-07-03T08:23:59+00:00 July 3rd, 2017|News|Comments Off on Northern Ireland Share Nursing and Midwifery Expertise with Croatia

Macedonia – “Developing cooperation between higher education institutions, the private sector and relevant public bodies”



This week NI-CO is delighted to host a group of 6 senior delegates from the Republic of Macedonia who are visiting Belfast to explore how employers and education providers in Northern Ireland are starting to work together to help students access rewarding employment opportunities while stimulating local business growth. The visit is funded under the auspices of an EU Institutional Twinning project which NI-CO is delivering in partnership with the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP).

Over the next 5 days, the group will have the opportunity to learn about NI’s latest educational policy developments from senior public servants within the Department for the Economy and examine new, innovative programmes being implemented by the Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast Metropolitan College and the University of Ulster. Visits to NI Career’s Service and to some of NI’s biggest student employers such as Deloitte and Catalyst Inc, will also provide delegates with an opportunity to explore policy in practice and assess which models may be relevant for Macedonia as they embark upon a new programme of economic and educational reform.

By | 2017-05-19T13:42:17+00:00 March 28th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Macedonia – “Developing cooperation between higher education institutions, the private sector and relevant public bodies”

Protecting the Consumer in Algeria

NI-CO is delighted to announce the award of its first EU funded institutional twinning project in Algeria: “Collection, Processing and Promotion of the Information in relation with Consumer Protection”.

The 1.2 million euro project was awarded to the UK towards the end of 2016 and will be implemented by NI-CO over the next two years. Resident twinning adviser, Mr Roland Laval and UK Project Leader, Mr John Lawrence, will lead a team of experts who will work alongside the Algerian Ministry of Trade to improve consumer advice and protection and develop a free-market environment favorable to investors.  As well as creating a fully operational call center for consumers’ claims, the project will seek to promote a more inclusive culture that will protect and enhance the consumer rights of female and vulnerable groups.

NI-CO feel very privileged to have been awarded this contract and to have the opportunity of playing a significant role in the further development of the Association Agreement between the EU and Algeria.

By | 2017-03-02T08:44:07+00:00 March 2nd, 2017|News|Comments Off on Protecting the Consumer in Algeria

Tackling the Waste Challenge in Macedonia

NI-CO has recently celebrated the addition of a new contract to our ever expanding project portfolio in the Western Balkans. The 1 million euro Institutional Twinning project will see NI-CO work alongside the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland as well as the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Bodies and Galician Regional Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructures in Spain for a period of 21 months.

Under the skilled direction of NI-CO’s long term expert, Mr Graham Byrne, the UK and Spanish expert team will work to strengthen the administrative capacity of the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning to implement the Waste Framework Directive and a number of waste stream directives including the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. The comprehensive training and capacity building programme will make a significant contribution towards the execution of Macedonia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement namely Article 80 on economic and social policies ensuring that environmental considerations are also fully incorporated from the outset, Article 68 on legal approximation, Articles 85 and 98 on ensuring environmental protection and Article 103 on combating environmental degradation, with the view to supporting environmental sustainability.

By | 2017-05-19T13:42:18+00:00 February 20th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Tackling the Waste Challenge in Macedonia

Macedonia – Major Gender Equality Conference in Skopje




The Chief Executive of the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland has told a NI-CO conference in Skopje that the Commission’s vision is equality for all and a common understanding of the benefits of a more equal society.

Dr. Evelyn Collins was the keynote speaker at a major conference – Promoting Gender Equality – in Skopje. The conference was organised by an EU-funded Twinning Project on supporting the implementation of gender equality, where the lead partner is the United Kingdom and the junior partners are Portugal and Romania.  The purpose of this ground-breaking project is to build capacity on gender equality, as a key human right and fundamental freedom, for people of all genders.

The project is led jointly by NI-CO and the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

Dr. Collins underlined the importance of having an influential, independent equality body, as part of the national equality architecture; drawing on Northern Ireland and wider European experience to demonstrate the continuing need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality in Macedonia.

Conference participants reported that they were inspired by Dr Collins’ speech and that the practical examples gave them a real insight into how to achieve equality for all.

Other speakers at the conference included, Ms Patricia Carey, Resident Twinning Adviser (on secondment to NI-CO from the Executive Office), Joint Project Leader Ms Elena Grozdanova, State Counsellor, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Ms Sophie Beaumont, Programme Manager Education and Gender, EU Delegation, Skopje, Ms Anita Sares, Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, Portugal, Ms Monaliza Elena Cirstea, Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly, Romania and Ms Eileen Sung, UK Project Leader.



By | 2017-05-19T13:42:18+00:00 October 19th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Macedonia – Major Gender Equality Conference in Skopje