Consultation on proposals to extend modifications to children’s social care regulations

Consultation opened on 08 April 2021. Closing date 22 April 2021.


On 7 May 2020, the Children’ Social Care (Coronavirus) (Temporary Modification of Children’s Social Care) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 came into operation to provide Health & Social Care Trusts [HSCTs] and other children’s social care providers with temporary modifications to enable them to support and protect children and their families effectively during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic up until 7 November 2020.


Consultation description

In October 2020, the Department extended the modifications for a further six months period up to 7 May 2021.

The use of the modifications has been monitored and reported on a monthly basis since they came into operation. Monitoring indicates that the modifications have been used proportionately and in line with the progress of the pandemic.

Evidence from the February 2021 monitoring report shows that the modifications continue to be used with reasonable frequency in a small number of areas.

Why we are consulting

Given the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued reliance on the regulations, the Department of Health is proposing to retain the modifications relating to a small number of areas of practice for a further six months up to 7 November 2021. We are inviting interested individuals and organisations to comment on what is being proposed.

About this consultation

This consultation document sets out:

  • The regulations we propose to apply modifications to up to 7 November 2021; and
  • The reasons for extending and modifying the regulations and the safeguards we will put in place to ensure that they are used moderately, proportionately and only if necessary to deal with the challenge of the ongoing pandemic.

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