Written Ministerial Statement

The content of this written ministerial statement is as received at the time from the Minister. It has not been subject to the official reporting (Hansard) process.

Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister-Delivering Social Change Signature Projects

Download this statement as a PDF (86.68 kb)

Published on Wednesday 10 October 2012

Mr P Robinson (The First Minister) and Mr M McGuinness (The deputy First Minister): We are pleased today to announce 6 significant signature programmes under the Delivering Social Change delivery framework which are designed to tackle multi-generational poverty and to improve children’s health, wellbeing, educational and life opportunities. This is about investing in early interventions which can assist everyone to reach their full potential and which can support a strong society and economy.

In our commitment to deliver social change where it is most needed, we have identified a number of key challenges that are contributing to the continuation of poverty and deprivation. These include problems with literacy and numeracy; the need for parenting support and early development intervention for children, and lack of employment opportunities coupled with local community dereliction. Addressing these severe, long term and structural problems will require a partnership across society including people and communities, businesses and wider civic society. However, we are determined that the Executive will play the best possible role in stimulating change.

Delivering Social Change is about actions. When we announced the Programme for Government, we stressed the need to deliver real improvements which people can see and feel on the ground. These six signature programmes represent the first concrete step in pursuing this aim. They are:

  • Department of Education (DE) to undertake additional literacy and numeracy measures. An additional 230 recent graduate teachers, who are not currently in permanent work, will be employed on a 2 year fixed term contract to deliver one to one tuition, where appropriate, for children in primary and post primary schools who are currently struggling to achieve even basic educational standards. Each teacher will work with a number of schools to deliver a minimum of 25 one to one tuition sessions, where appropriate, every week.  80  teachers will be employed to support basic reading and maths skills at Key Stage 2 in primary schools.  150 teachers will be engaged with post-primary schools to support pupils in year 4 and 5 in attaining a minimum of a C in GCSC English and Maths, where the school feels this is not likely without intervention. The impact of this initiative will be measured over the course of the next 2 years.  Recruitment will start as soon as possible and teachers should be in place very early in the new year. 


  • Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to take forward the establishment of 10 Family Support Hubs over the next 2 years. These are coalitions of community and voluntary organisations and agencies which provide early intervention services for children and young people locally in order to enhance awareness, accessibility, co-ordination and provision of Family Support resources in local areas .

  • Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety to take forward additional high quality support to new and existing parents living in areas of deprivation through positive parenting programmes. This would include potentially engaging 50 additional health workers on a 2 year basis to support this work and will provide guidance, training and information for up to 1200 families.


  • The Department for Social Development along with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) to take forward the development of approximately 10 Social Enterprise Incubation Hubs servicing areas of multiple deprivation over a 2 year period. This is designed to tackle dereliction and community eyesores but also the lack of local employment by encouraging social enterprise business start up within local communities.


  • Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) to scale up and roll out the pilot intervention to support young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in developing skills and linking them to the employment market through structured programmes and projects. DEL’s pilot currently targets 20 families (10 rural and 10 urban). The intention would be replicate this model and increase the target number of families to 500.


  • Department for Social Development (DSD) along with Department of Education to take forward and fund an additional 20 Nurture Units to be rolled out across Northern Ireland in addition to the 7 nurture units already being rolled out by DSD. These units are based within schools with specialists that work with targeted children to provide support, encouragement and help.  The pilot run by DSD so far has shown significant improvements with young people engaging in the Nurture Units.


Departments will now come together to deliver these actions through the Delivering Social Change governance structures. We have asked Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister officials to work with the Departments as they develop their plans to deliver these early actions and to report back to us on progress. We are proposing to make available some £26 million of the central funds to support these programmes over the next 2 years

Find former MLAs


Locate former MLAs


News and Media Centre


Read press releases, watch live and archived video

Find out more

Follow the Assembly


Keep up to date with what’s happening at the Assem

Find out more

Contact information


Contact us for further information about our work.

Contact us