Northern Ireland

Social Development Department to be investigated

The Department of Social Development (DSD) is to be investigated by the Equality Commission for a possible breach of equality laws.

The commission said the DSD, headed by Nelson McCausland, may have failed to comply with the proper procedure for screening and impact assessment.

It said the decision on whether a failure had occurred would be decided following the investigation.

The DSD has ultimate responsibility for social housing in Northern Ireland.

In a statement on its website, 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."