Delivering Social Change - Introduction

The Delivering Social Change framework was set up by the Northern Ireland Executive to tackle poverty and social exclusion. It represents a new level of joined-up working by Ministers and senior officials across Executive departments to drive through initiatives which have a genuine impact on the ground.


The framework has been established to deliver a sustained reduction in poverty and associated issues across all ages and to improve children and young people’s health, well-being and life opportunities, thereby breaking the long term cycle of multi-generational problems.

Delivering Social Change is a new way of doing business, moving away from plans with long lists of existing activities towards a smaller number of actions which can really make a difference to people’s lives. It is about creating a new culture and focus on cross-cutting work to achieve social benefits.

How the framework is tackling poverty and social exclusion

The framework:

  • provides a way for the Executive and Government Departments to take forward significant cross-cutting policy development and programme delivery work
  • is assisting with the development of a performance framework representing the key economic, social and environmental priorities which will inform the next Programme for Government

Operational structures

Delivering Social Change Ministerial Sub-Committees

The Executive’s Ministerial Sub-Committees on Poverty and Social Inclusion and Children and Young People are leading on the Delivering Social Change programme of work.

Both Sub-Committees are co-chaired by Junior Ministers along with all Executive Ministers as members. Once a year the First Minister and deputy First Minister chair a joint meeting of the Sub-Committees.

Delivering Social Change Programme Board

The Ministerial Sub-Committees are supported by the Delivering Social Change Programme Board. This is co-chaired by Junior Ministers and includes senior officials from all government departments. The Board oversees and monitors the Delivering Social Change Signature Programmes.

Delivering Social Change Atlantic Philanthropies Programme Board

The Atlantic Philanthropies Programme Board specifically oversees and monitors progress on the development and implementation of the three additional Signature Programmes announced by Ministers in September 2014. These programmes are being jointly funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Executive and membership includes representatives from the departments that are leading on this work.

Delivering Social Change Fund

In the Executive’s commitment to deliver change where it is most needed, a number of key issues that are contributing to the continuation of poverty and deprivation were identified. These include low literacy and numeracy attainment; the need for parenting support and early intervention for children; and the lack of employment opportunities, coupled with local community dereliction.

A Delivering Social Change Fund was established to enable the Executive to respond quickly and in a more flexible way to urgent social needs.

The Fund is supporting:

  • The Social Investment Fund;
  • The Delivering Social Change Signature Programmes;
  • Childcare.

Contact the Delivering Social Change Team

Delivering Social Change for Children and Young People

The current ten year strategy for children and young people 'Our Children and Young People - Our Pledge' which is due to expire in 2016 provides the overall strategic direction for all of the work which the Executive takes forward to improve children's lives.

In January 2014, a consultation document, 'Delivering Social Change for Children and Young People' was published for public consultation. The consultation document set out draft proposals to integrate the Executive's child poverty strategy with the ten year strategy for children and young people and our work to deliver our commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In July 2014, following feedback from that consultation, ministers took the decision to lay a child poverty strategy 2014-2017 separately, and to engage further with stakeholders in the development of a new strategy for children and young people under the delivering social change umbrella.

Initial work has now commenced to bring forward the development of a new children and young people's strategy utilising a co-design process, listening to the views of stakeholders and building on the strategic outcomes of the current strategy that our children are:

  • healthy
  • enjoying, learning and achieving
  • living in safety and with stability
  • experiencing economic and environmental well-being
  • contributing positively to community and society
  • living in a society which respects their rights

The aims of the new DSC children and young people strategy

The new strategy will aim to:

  • ensure that children and young people are central to every policy decision made by Government which could impact on their lives
  • ensure every proposal has evidence-based planned outcomes, which can be measured against its positive impact on the quality of our children’s lives
  • build on the six high level outcomes of the current strategy
  • further embrace within the new strategy the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Related issues

Two recent key issues will have an impact on the development of the new children and young people’s strategy:

  • the Private Members Bill (PMB) - work is being taken forward to provide amendments to the PMB on co-operation on Children’s Services
  • the Executive decision of 22 January 2015 to establish a Department of Education (DE) from 2016  

The new department will continue the existing functions of DE, along with a range of children’s services including OFMDFM’s policy responsibilities for the Childcare Strategy and for children and young people. The definition of children’s services transferring to this new department will need further refinement, though it is agreed that child protection will remain with the Department of Health.

Delivering Social Change Stakeholder Updates

Since January 2014 the Delivering Social Change Communications Team has been producing regular updates on progress across the Signature Programmes and other work being taken forward under the Delivering Social Change framework.

If you would like to access any earlier editions please contact the the Delivering Social Change Team.

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