Resettlement from long stay institutions in Northern Ireland - Interim Report now completed

North Harbour Consulting and a team of associate consultants have completed the first stage of a research project to review the institutional arrangements underpinning the learning disability resettlement programme from long stay hospitals in Northern Ireland. Research ethics approval for a second stage that will involve interviews with 50 resettled people and their carers and service providers is now being sought.

The research was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which is the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland as well as its largest social landlord, with responsibility for planning housing and support services for people who have additional support needs. The support element is funded by the Supporting People (SP) Programme which is administered by the Housing Executive. In 2012, the programme funded 2,664 units of accommodation-based support and 409 places in floating support for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities. The combined value of this funding was £23.8 million. In addition, SP funded places under homelessness provision for people with alcohol/substance abuse issues and homeless people who have mental ill-health and learning disabilities.

The research forms part of the wider programme of research that supports the Housing Executive’s role as Regional Housing Authority.

The research team includes Fiona Boyle MA (Fiona Boyle Associates) who is widely experienced in research and policy development in housing and social welfare in Northern Ireland; Alicia Wood (CEO, Housing and Support Alliance) who recently led the team preparing the National Housing Delivery Plan for people with learning disabilities; and Steve Harris (Senior Adviser, H&SA). Alicia and Steve will provide specialist advice and support on carrying out ethical research with vulnerable people.