Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP)

Part of: Housing Association Guide, Development Guide, Programme Management

The Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP) is a three year rolling programme used by the Department to inform social housing funding investment decisions. Both the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and Registered Housing Association movement are involved in the programme.


The Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP) is a three year rolling programme of planned social housing construction and provision. The SHDP is split into three individual programme years and is a mechanism used by the Department to inform social housing funding investment decisions. The SHDP is the outcome of a formulation and assembly exercise undertaken by Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). Responsibility for the actual development of social housing for rent rests with registered Housing Associations. 

The Shared Housing Programme is part of the SHDP and is a key component of the NI Executive’s commitment of building a shared society. As part of the SHDP each year, the Department aims to deliver at least 200 shared housing units. The shared housing schemes are supported through Good Relations Support funding, to develop and deliver a five-year Good Relations Plan. Follow this link to the current Shared Housing Programme, including the guidance on drawing down Good Relations Support funding.

Shared Housing Programme | Department for Communities (

The respective responsibilities for formulating the SHDP are as follows:

Responsibilities for SHDP

Role of the Department

The Department's role in the first instance is to determine the level of programme to be provided, within the finance available for social housing provision. The required number of housing starts on site is set out in the Programme for Government targets and the Department have to secure the necessary funding. In relation to the SHDP the Department is responsible for:

  • Oversight and regulation of Associations to assess if they are eligible for entry to the SHDP;
  • Approval of the New Projects Only programme.  

The Department is responsible for setting overall housing policy under the guidance of the Minister, as well as the allocation of funding for the programme. In addition it has the responsibility for the Housing Association Guide and for the registration, inspection and monitoring of Associations so as to provide assurance to the Departmental Accounting Officer in relation to the overall corporate affairs, management, financial control and service delivery of Registered Housing Associations.

Role of NIHE

NIHE is responsible for:-

  • The identification and analysis of housing need. This includes setting strategic guidelines for Targeting Social Need as well as the compilation of a two year prospectus identifying unmet housing need which consists of marker schemes (NIHE Corporate Services Division i.e NIHE Corporate Planning, Area Planners and Supporting People);
  • Ensuring, as far as possible, continuity in the programme in the roll forward process, so that Associations have confidence for forward planning purposes (NIHE Development Programme Group and NIHE Area Planners);
  • Planning, formulating and drafting the SHDP to ensure that Associations are appropriately directed to meet identified housing needs within the allocated budget. NIHE then formulates the draft programme - based on need - within the parameters laid down by the Department (NIHE Development Programme Group in conjunction with NIHE Corporate Planning).
  • Management of the SHDP and associated funding (NIHE Development Programme Group)

Note: Contact on all matters concerning the SHDP should be made in the first instance to:

Programme & Enabling Manager
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Development Programme Group
4th Floor, The Housing Centre
2 Adelaide Street
Belfast BT2 8PB

Tel:  028 9031 8400
Fax: 028 9031 8863

Role of Registered Housing Associations

Housing Associations are tasked with identifying sites suitable for social housing for rent provision; the planning and development of scheme proposals and their subsequent construction and project management to meet SHDP targets while achieving best value for money.

Programme Assembly

The SHDP is “rolled-on” annually by NIHE.  The purpose of the roll-on process is to re-assess housing needs, review progress with the delivery of the development programme (to meet previously identified housing needs) and establish programming requirements in response to newly identified housing needs to assemble a robust programme for the next three years.  
District Housing Plans - The process of formulating the development programme is informed by NIHE’s production of District Housing Plans, and the subsequent round of consultation with each of the 26 District Councils, which recurs annually during May to September.  The District Housing Plans are effectively a prospectus of housing-related activity by District Council, which in each case include a section detailing planned development programme activity by Associations, together with a summary of unmet housing needs.

The District Housing Plans, in summarising unmet housing needs by District Council area, should help direct Associations to concentrate their site identification and acquisition activities in appropriate locations.
NIHE Housing Need Support - It is a prerequisite for NIHE (DPG) project approval that Associations obtain support for each proposed scheme from the appropriate NIHE Area Planner (AP). However, NIHE (AP) support does not guarantee the scheme will ultimately receive formal Project Approval. Housing Need is only one aspect of the considerations leading to Approval of a scheme proposal.  In order to obtain NIHE (AP) support, Associations should contact the relevant Area Planner via the relevant NIHE Area Office (Belfast; South; South East; North East; West).
For more information on Assessing Housing Need.
NIHE formulation of the SHDP is shaped by the production of the organisation’s strategic guidelines, which are also reviewed and modified annually.

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