The Strategic Planning and Policy Development Forum

Part of: Department of Education strategic planning

The Strategic Planning and Policy Development Forum (known as the Strategic Forum) provides an opportunity for all of the recognised Trade Unions, employers and Sectoral Support Bodies to work with the Department to help shape and influence policy development and strategic planning before decisions are made.


The Forum has been in operation since February 2011 and meets three times a year, chaired by the Department’s Permanent Secretary.  The Forum consists of an agreed number of members of whom half are drawn from the recognised trade unions and half from the Department, employers and recognised sectoral support bodies, as appropriate.  Secretarial support is provided by DE.

Principles and terms of reference

The Forum works to agreed Principles and Terms of Reference which set out the remit, functions and workings of the Forum.  Minutes of Forum meetings to date are available to view.

Forum work streams

The Department of Education’s 3-year Corporate Plan (incorporating annual business plans) is the main driver of the Forum’s overall agenda, however the Minister may commission specific pieces of work from the Forum on an exceptional basis. 

The Forum establishes work streams as appropriate to progress specific issues and report back with recommendations.  No more than three work streams operate concurrently. The Forum defines the parameters of each work stream through the development and agreement of clear Terms of Reference.





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