Reform of Social Fund discussed at meeting with Commissioner and voluntary and community organistions
The Department of Work and Pensions will soon be passing responsibility for the fund to local government in England and to Northern Ireland and the other devolved regions.
NICVA members from the welfare rights, housing and advice sectors attended the meeting and discussed how Northern Ireland can develop a new Social Fund which will meet the needs of local people.
While thinking on this issue is still at an early stage, all agreed that the Social Fund is a vital service for vulnerable people facing crisis and voluntary and community organisations should take the opportunity to talk to local MLAs and the Department of Social Development about any plans for reform.
Speaking at the meeting NICVA Chief Executive Seamus McAleavey said
“For people and families in crisis, access to emergency money for basic necessities is vital. At a policy level the Social Fund is an essential part of the wider anti-poverty agenda. We were pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to facilitate a meeting with Commissioner Singh and our members who deal with the Social Fund on a daily basis and know what works and what needs improved. The devolution of responsibility for the Social Fund to the NI Assembly means that we have a real opportunity to devise a fund which meets local need and we look forward to engaging with DSD on this in the coming months.”