Independent Review of Children's Social Care Services - Initial Consultation on the recommendations

Closed 1 Dec 2023

Opened 8 Sep 2023


Your views on the majority of the recommendations from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Services are being sought.

The Review Report makes 53 recommendations. Views are being sought on 51/53 recommendations. There are no questions on recommendations 2 and 48 on the basis that they have service-wide/whole-of-government impacts and need to be considered in a broader context.

In total, there are 66 consultation questions, organised along the lines of the Chapters in the consultation paper. The text of the recommendations to which the questions relate is provided, alongside the associated Chapters/Paragraph numbers of the Review Report. There are multiple questions relating to some recommendations. Some questions have a number of elements. If possible and relevant, we would like you to respond to all questions and to all elements of individual questions.

When responding, you are asked to make reference to the Review Report to fully understand the detail behind the recommendations and the context in which they are being made.

The Department of Health initiated a review of Children’s Social Care Services in circumstances where those services were under severe pressure. While there have been some improvements, many of the pressures continue to exist.

The Review Report is intended to provide a roadmap through the current challenges, without being overly prescriptive. This was intentional on the part of the Report’s author, Professor Ray Jones. He wanted to create the scope to shape services and ownership of the reform necessary but within the framework set by the Report’s recommendations. A number of the Report’s recommendations are ground-breaking, including the recommendations relating to the establishment of a new Arms-Length Body in place of current organisational arrangements.

The engagement with stakeholders, undertaken as part of the Review, was extensive. It took place over a 13 month period and involved children, young people, parents and family carers, leaders, managers, and practitioners from the statutory and community / voluntary sectors – all for the purpose of developing a robust and sound understanding of the issues facing Children’s Social Care Services in Northern Ireland.

This consultation is intended to add to that evidence base, with the emphasis now on how we address the issues identified by the Review.

Why your views matter

Some of the reforms recommended by the Review are very significant in policy, practice and service delivery terms. It is important that you are given the opportunity to contribute your views on the suggested way forward. It is important because we want to ensure that we provide the best possible support and services to some of the most vulnerable children and families in Northern Ireland and create the best possible working environment for the staff involved.


The consultation opens on 8 September 2023 and closes on 1 December 2023.

Further detail and supporting documents can be viewed on our Consultation page. (external link opens to a new window/tab)



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