The Department for Communities currently delivers Discretionary Support, which is a unique scheme introduced in Northern Ireland in 2016. The purpose of Discretionary Support is to provide emergency financial support for people on a low income who are in an extreme, exceptional or crisis situation. Awards can be made as either an interest-free loan or a non-repayable grant. The Department commissioned an independent panel to complete a review of Discretionary Support in June 2021 and they have produced a report making a number of recommendations for improvements to the scheme. The report has now been published.