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Work of the new Department & Committee for Communities

With this week marking the first meeting of the new Assembly Committee for Communities, we have a look at the structure and upcoming work of the new Department and Committee.

Department for Communities

Our new Minister for Communities is Paul Givan MLA (DUP), Lagan Valley.

The Permanent Secretary for the Department is Leo O’Reilly.

The new Department for Communities is the largest of the new Executive. It incorporates

  • the entirety of the Department for Social Development;
  • responsibility for debt advice and financial capability from DETI;
  • the majority of the functions of the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure;
  • policy responsibilities for Children & Young People, Older People, Disability Strategy, and gender & sexual orientation from OFMDFM;
  • Local Government from DOE, and Built Heritage from the NI Environment Agency; and
  • the Employment Service and Economic Inactivity Strategy from DEL.

Further information is available on the new Department’s policy responsibilities and structure.

Committee for Communities

The Chair of the new Committee for Communities is Colum Eastwood MLA (SDLP), Foyle. The vice-chair is Michelle Gildernew MLA (Sinn Féin), Fermanagh South Tyrone.

There are 9 other Committee members:

The Committee Clerk is Dr. Kevin Pelan, who was the Clerk of the previous Social Development Committee. The Committee has published its Forward Work Programme, with initial briefings scheduled including:

9 June: Regulations on Welfare Reform Supplementary Payments, and Discretionary Support. Structure of the new Department for Communities.

23 June: Update on Social Housing Reform Programme. Update on homelessness.

30 June: A Ministerial briefing on priorities for the Department of Communities.

Our policy work

Housing Rights welcomes the new Minister and Committee members, and looks forward to working with the new Department and Committee over the Assembly term, as we work to deliver decent, sustainable homes to people across Northern Ireland.

Find out more about our Policy team.


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Stephen Orme