Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

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Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Department overview
Formed June 1944 (as Ministry of Health and Local Government)
Preceding Department Ministry of Home Affairs
Jurisdiction Northern Ireland
Headquarters Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4 3SJ
Employees 731 (September 2011)[1]
Annual budget £4,383.1 million (current) & £200.5 million (capital) for 2011–12[2]
Minister responsible Edwin Poots
Website www.dhsspsni.gov.uk
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The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS, Irish: An Roinn Sláinte, Seirbhísí Sóisialta agus Sábháilteachta Poiblí, Ulster-Scots: Männystrie o Poustie, Resydènter Heisin an Fowk Siccar)[3] is a devolved Northern Irish government department in the Northern Ireland Executive. The minister with overall responsibility for the department is the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Aim[edit]

DHSSPS' overall aim and mission is to "improve the health and social well-being of the people of Northern Ireland."[4]

The incumbent Minister is Edwin Poots (Democratic Unionist Party).[5]

Responsibilities[edit]

The Minister, assisted by the department, makes policy and legislation in three broad areas:

Some sensitive health policy issues are reserved to Westminster and are therefore not devolved:[6]

In Northern Ireland, abortion law is a criminal justice matter and is devolved.[7]

DHSSPS' main counterparts in the United Kingdom Government are:

In the Irish Government, its main counterparts are:

Health and Social Care organisations[edit]

The Health and Social Care system in Northern Ireland consists of the following public bodies:

Northern Ireland-wide

Sub-regional health and social care trusts

History[edit]

Health policy in Northern Ireland was originally a responsibility of local government and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which (similarly to the Home Office) retained responsibility for policy areas not delegated to other ministries.

A separate Ministry of Health and Local Government was established in June 1944, as part of the welfare state. In January 1965, that department was divided between the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

The latter ministry was renamed as the Department of Health and Social Services under direct rule, introduced in March 1972. A health and social services ministry was also included in the Northern Ireland Executive briefly established in 1974. The department was responsible for social security policy and its initials DHSS are still used locally to describe benefits and benefit claimants.

Following a referendum on the Belfast Agreement on 23 May 1998 and the granting of royal assent to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on 19 November 1998, a Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive were established by the United Kingdom Government under Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In December 1999, the Department of Health and Social Services was renamed as the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. It gained responsibility for the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade from the Department of the Environment but ceded social security to the Department for Social Development. DHSSPS was therefore one of the six direct rule Northern Ireland departments to continue in existence following devolution, following the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and The Departments (Northern Ireland) Order 1999.

A devolved minister took office on 2 December 1999. Devolution was suspended for four periods, during which the department came under the responsibility of direct rule ministers from the Northern Ireland Office:

Since 8 May 2007, devolution has operated without interruption.

Ministers of Health, Social Services and Public Safety[edit]

Minister Image Party Took office Left office
    Bairbre de Brún Bairbre de Brún 2008-10-19 Strasbourg.jpg Sinn Féin 2 December 1999 11 February 2000
Office suspended
    Bairbre de Brún Bairbre de Brún 2008-10-19 Strasbourg.jpg Sinn Féin 30 May 2000 14 October 2002[20]
Office suspended
    Michael McGimpsey Michael McGimpsey UUP.png UUP 8 May 2007 5 May 2011
    Edwin Poots Edwin Poots (cropped).jpg DUP 16 May 2011 Incumbent

Direct rule ministers[edit]

During the periods of suspension, the following ministers of the Northern Ireland Office were responsible for the department:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Northern Ireland Quarterly Employment Survey Historical Data". Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Budget 2011–15". Department of Finance and Personnel. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Depairtment o Halth, Social Sairins an Public Sauftie is also used by the North/South Ministerial Council.
  4. ^ Northern Ireland Budget 2011–15, page 70
  5. ^ http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/work-of-the-executive/ministers-and-their-departments.htm Northern Ireland Executive
  6. ^ Northern Ireland Act 1998, Schedule 3
  7. ^ House of Commons, Written answers and statements, 13 July 2009
  8. ^ DH: About the Department of Health
  9. ^ Communities and Local Government: Fire and resilience
  10. ^ Department of Health: About the Department
  11. ^ Environment, Community and Local Government: Fire and Emergency Services
  12. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Commencement) Order 2000
  13. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2000
  14. ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2001
  15. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2001
  16. ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
  17. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
  18. ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2002
  19. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2007
  20. ^ Office suspended for 24 hours on 11 August 2001 and 22 September 2001

External links[edit]