The Department currently administers a number of Executive approved welfare mitigation schemes which are designed to alleviate the impact of specific changes to social security benefits. The welfare mitigation schemes are specific to Northern Ireland, and the Department has sole responsibility for the development and implementation of the policy and operational delivery.
The “New Decade, New Approach” deal committed to a priority review of the welfare reform mitigation measures. To take forward this important work the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, appointed an Independent Advisory Panel led by Les Allamby, former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Mr Allamby was supported by independent panel members with expertise in the field of social security and of working to support people at grass roots level.
The Independent Advisory Panel were tasked with completing a comprehensive review of existing welfare mitigation measures and to identify the need for a future welfare mitigation package. The panel have presented their final report to the Department and it has now been published. The Department is currently considering the Panel’s report and its recommendations.