Targeting Social Need

Author(s): Padraic Quirk and Eithne McLaughlin
Document Type: Chapter
Year: 1999
Title of Publication: Policy Aspects of Employment Equality
Editors: Padraic Quirk and Eithne McLaughlin
Publisher: Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights
Place of Publication: Belfast
Pgs: 153-185
Subject Area(s): Deprivation

Abbreviations: CCRU - Central Community Relations Unit, DENI - Department of Education Northern Ireland, NIO - Northern Ireland Office, TSN - Targeting Social Need

Background to the Research

  • This chapter reviews information gathered on the implementation of TSN in research carried out in the winter of 1995 and the spring of 1996. The purpose of the research was to determine the adequacy of the implementation, operation and impact of TSN since its introduction in 1991 and to compare this across government departments. All the Northern Ireland departments were included in the research, as were the NIO and the cross-departmental CCRU.

Research Approach

  • The research used a structured questionnaire with a number of open-ended questions on training, planning and definitions of need, departmental deadlines and monitoring.
  • Questionnaires were received by all Northern Ireland departments, the NIO and CCRU with a six weeks set deadline for response. No department met the deadline however all departments responded eventually, aside from the NIO and DENI.

Main Findings

  • Since its introduction TSN has attracted considerable political attention among both party and non-party political organisations and this is increasing. The research reported here however suggests there may be a growing gulf between the public expectations and civil service views of the potential of TSN and its practical application by government.
  • This gap results from a failure of government to set the parameters of the TSN debate within its own administration. This failure is exacerbated by the fact that, whether government wish it or not, TSN is central to wider political considerations of a governing a divided society, and as such transparency is a critical issue.

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