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Delivering Social Change Signature Programmes

The Signature Programmes were set up to improve literacy and numeracy levels, offer increased family support and to support job creation within local communities - all of which were identified as being key priorities.

Signature Programmes

Following a trawl of existing examples of good practice, in October 2012 the First Minister and deputy First Minister announced the development of six Signature Programmes under the Delivering Social Change framework.

How were the Signature Programmes chosen?

In consultation with stakeholders in 2012 the Children and Young Persons Early Action document was developed. This document identified key priorities to be taken forward under the Delivering Social Change Framework. The key priorities identified were Early Years and Early Interventions, Literacy and Numeracy, Transitions, Integrated Delivery and Joined-Up Planning and Commissioning.
You can view the Early Action Paper by clicking on the link below.





Department of Education (DE)

Improving literacy and numeracy attainment levels in primary and post primary schools through the provision of additional teaching support. (£12million)An additional 233 recently graduated teachers who are not currently in work will be employed to deliver tuition for children in primary and post primary schools who are currently struggling with English and Maths.Recruitment of the teachers has progressed well and over 200 full time equivalent teachers have now been appointed. The recruitment process for the appointment of the remaining teachers is ongoing. Further details about this programme can be found on the  Western Education and Library Board websiteexternal website.

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)

Supporting the existing 16 Family Support Hubs and over the next two years take forward the establishment of 10 new Family Support Hubs. (£3million)
A Family Support Hub is a multi-agency network of organisations that either provide early intervention services or work with families who need early intervention services.
The Hub brings together representatives from statutory, voluntary and community sector organisations who work in the local area to provide early intervention family support services.
Three new Family Support Hubs are operational in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust area.  Seven new Family Support Hubs are planned for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust area. It is expected that five of the Belfast Hubs will be established by April 2014 and the remaining two will follow by summer 2014.  6,000 families will benefit from these Hubs.
Further information about Family Support Hubs can be found on the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership websiteexternal website.

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)

Taking forward additional high quality support to new and existing parents living in areas of deprivation through positive parenting programmes.
Through the programmes, guidance, training and information will be provided for up to 1,200 families.  A range of parenting support programmes has been developed from the Public Health Agency’s ongoing engagement with stakeholders through the Child Development Programme Board and the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership. These will focus on parenting programmes for vulnerable groups.

Department for Social Development (DSD) along with Department of Education (DE)

Taking forward funding for an additional 20 nurture units to be rolled out across Northern Ireland in addition to the ten nurture units which are being funded by DE and DSD.
These units will help address barriers to learning among children arising from social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Trained staff in these units will select the children who will benefit most from the support and will develop individual learning plans agreed with teachers and parents. 20 teachers and 20 classroom assistants have been recruited and all of the nurture units are now fully operational.  Children started attending the units from the beginning of November 2013. It is expected that 480 children and their families will benefit from the units.

Department for Social Development (DSD) along with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI)

Establishing 11 Social Enterprise Incubation Hubs servicing areas of multiple deprivation. (£4milion)This programme is designed to tackle the lack of local employment by encouraging social enterprise business start up within local communities. The hubs will offer a range of business advice and practical support to social enterprise entrepreneurs. Locations for the Social Enterprise Hubs have been identified and property leases for the Hubs are due to be signed by January 2014. It is expected that the majority of the Hubs will be operational from April 2014.

Department for Employment and Learning (DEL)

To scale up and roll out a pilot intervention to support young people Not in Education, Employment or Training in developing skills and linking them to the employment market through structured programmes and projects.
DEL began a pilot in January 2013 targeting 44 post primary school families with children aged between 14 and 18 in East Belfast, West Belfast, Strabane, Cookstown and Newtownabbey. During the pilot, families completed short accredited training courses and work placements. They were also provided with one to one employment advice including CV writing and interview techniques. The families also engaged in debt management, stress management, healthy eating and cooking programmes and confidence, motivational and life coaching classes. The up scaled programme was launched on 5th November 2013 with 720 families to benefit from this intervention. Further information is available on the DEL website.external website

Play and Leisure Signature Programme

On 8th October 2013, Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann announced a £1.6million investment to enhance play and leisure opportunities for children and young people. This funding will be provided under the Delivering Social Change framework and will support initiatives in championing play, greater local access to space for play; and planning and support for play at a community level.

Future Signature Programmes

A range of possible future initiatives are currently under consideration.