Consultation on Proposed Amendments to the 2016 Independent Guardian Service Regulations

Closed 19 Jan 2023

Opened 27 Oct 2022


The Department of Health (DoH) is seeking your views on amendments we are proposing to make to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) (Independent Guardian) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 ("the 2016 Regulations").

The Independent Guardian Service (IGS) provides support to trafficked and/or unaccompanied children and young people arriving and seeking asylum in Northern Ireland. The 2016 Regulations currently require that Independent Guardians (IGs) are social workers with at least five years' post-qualifying experience.

In order to afford the IGS provider and its commissioner increased flexibility, DoH is proposing to remove the need for five years' post-qualifying experience and instead set a statutory requirement that IGs be qualified social workers who have completed their post-qualification assessed period of employment. This would be a statutory minimum; the service provider and its commissioner would be afforded the discretion to enhance this criterion in contracts and/or recruitment exercises.

DoH is also proposing to consider what other roles and professions may be appropriate for non-IG roles within the IGS.

You can offer your views via answering the questionnaire here on our consultation pages, by downloading the attached consultation document and questionnaire and returning it to or, in hard copy, to the address given in the document. You can also request a hard copy from

What happens next

The consultation period closes on Thursday 19 January 2023 at 11.59pm. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept responses received after this date/time.

After the closure of the consultation, the Department will collate and analyse the responses and consider any issues raised.


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