Request to Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) for a ‘Paragraph 11’ Investigation into the Office of the First and deputy First Minister (OFMdFM) in relation to compatibility with the OFMdFM Equality Scheme of a reported policy decision not to approve the release of Social Investment Fund (SIF) monies on the basis of objective need.
CAJ recently met, as part of a delegation from the Equality Coalition, with the ECNI and among the items discussed were equalities issues relating to the SIF. Since that time first the Detail, and then the media in general have extensively reported that projects which have been presented by officials, alongside official deprivation statistics, have not been signed off due to apparent disagreements as to whether funding should be allocated on the basis of objective need. OFMdFM information available to date on SIF however has indicated objective need based criteria will be applied. Questions therefore arise as to whether there has now been a policy review or change.