Independent Review of Discretionary Support

Grainne McKeever, Ciara Fitzpatrick, Mark Simpson, Ursula O'Hare, Kevin Higgins, Jonny Currie, Gerry McConville

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


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. Amongst the panel’s recommendations was the priority of grants over loans and the adjustment of income thresholds to reflect household composition. The reforms proposed by the review panel seek to ensure that those most at risk of destitution can access support through the scheme, in the knowledge that they will be treated with dignity and respect when they need it most
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages166
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2022


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