Belfast Telegraph

Equality Commission probe at DSD

A Stormont department is to be investigated over potential breaches of equality legislation.

The Equality Commission announced that it will examine whether the Department of Social Development (DSD) has fulfilled its requirements in regard to its current five-year housing strategy and a number of associated proposals.

Under legislation, the commission has the power to conduct an investigation where it believes a public authority may have failed to comply with its approved Equality Scheme.

The department is currently led by DUP minister Nelson McCausland.

A spokesman for the Equality Commission said: "After consideration by its Statutory Duties Investigation Committee, the Commission has decided that the Department's actions in relation to the Housing Strategy, the Building Successful Communities Programme, and the Social Housing Reform Programme, may have failed to comply with the undertakings in its approved Equality Scheme in respect of screening and impact assessment.

"This is not a determination of whether or not such a failure has in fact occurred - that will be decided following the investigation."

A spokesman for the DSD said it would co-operate fully with the probe.

"The Department is aware that the Equality Commission NI is to conduct an investigation into a potential breach of Equality Scheme commitments in connection with the Housing Strategy 2012-17," he said.

"We will of course co-operate fully with the investigation. The Equality Commission has not made a determination of whether or not the Department has failed to comply with its Equality Scheme.

"That will be decided by the Commission following its investigation. It would therefore be inappropriate for DSD to comment further at this stage."

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