Changes to government departments

The number of Northern Ireland government departments has been reduced from 12 to nine. The functions and services delivered by the 12 former departments have been restructured and transferred to the relevant new department.

New departments

The nine new departments are:

  • Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs
  • Infrastructure
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Justice
  • Executive Office
  • Communities

You can find contact information and links to the new departmental websites at the link below.

The functions and services of the new departments are outlined below.

Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA)

The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), excluding Rivers Agency
  • environmental functions from the former Department of Environment (DOE)
  • inland fisheries from the former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL)
  • policy responsibility for Sustainable Strategy

The environmental functions that transferred from DOE included regulation, but excluded the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s built heritage function.

Department for Infrastructure (DfI)

The Department for Infrastructure encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department for Regional Development (DRD)
  • vehicle regulation, road safety & Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) functions from DOE
  • strategic planning from DOE
  • Rivers Agency from DARD
  • inland waterways from DCAL
  • Crumlin Road Gaol Programme-Project management from OFMDFM
  • St Lucia (ex-Ministry of Defence site) from OFMDFM

Department for the Economy (DfE)

The Department for the Economy encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI)
  • the functions of the former Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) with the exception of the Employment Service

Department of Education (DE)

The Department of Education encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department of Education
  • policy responsibility and a range of services (excluding child protection) for children and young people
  • policy responsibility for the Childcare Strategy from OFMDFM

Department of Finance (DoF)

The Department of Finance encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP)
  • the nidirect Central Editorial Team from OFMDFM
  • the Government Advertising Unit from OFMDFM

Department of Health (DoH)

The Department of Health encompasses the functions of the former Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).

Department of Justice (DOJ)

The Department of Justice encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Planning Appeals Commission and Water Appeals Commission administrative support from OFMDFM

The Executive Office

The Executive Office encompasses some of the functions of the former Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) plus the Strategic Policy and Innovation Unit.

Where functions have transferred from OFMDFM, they are shown against the responsibilities of the relevant receiving department.

Department for Communities (DfC)

The Department for Communities encompasses:

  • the functions of the former Department for Social Development (DSD)
  • the functions of DCAL, including PRONI (but excluding inland fisheries & waterways)
  • Employment Service from DEL
  • local government from DOE, including Built Heritage from NIEA
  • debt advice from DETI
  • Financial Capability Strategy from DETI
  • Economic Inactivity Strategy from DEL

A number of functions also transferred from OFMDFM, this included:

  • policy responsibility for Older People, Active Ageing Strategy, sponsor branch for the Commissioner for Older People with the exception of the appointment of the Commissioner
  • policy responsibility for Disability Strategy, Anti Poverty and Child Poverty, co-ordinating work across departments
  • sponsor branch for Commissioner for Children and Young People with the exception of the appointment of the Commissioner
  • policy responsibility for gender and sexual orientation

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