October 9, 2006

Improving government service delivery to minority ethnic groups

This study, commissioned by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (Northern Ireland) from the Centre for Cross Border Studies, is being carried out by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (Dublin), the Institute for Conflict Research (Belfast), and Organisation and Social Development Consultants Ltd (Edinburgh).

This study will examine how public authorities provide services for ethnic and immigrant groups within the prescribed legal framework in three jurisdictions: Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

By analyzing the challenges which diversity presents to public service providers, the study will explore models for responding to the needs of three main target groups:

  • longstanding migrant and minority communities
  • refugees and asylum-seekers
  • migrant workers

The study will draw on experiences across a range of sectors including: health, social services, education, employment, housing, interpreting, information and advice, and policing. The primary focus will be to identify how Northern Ireland public authorities can learn from experience within Northern Ireland and from their nearest neighbours: Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

The methodology will involve:


  • Interviews with key stakeholders at policy level with relevant Government Departments and statutory agencies, including OFMDFM, Equality Commission NI, trade unions and employer bodies
  • A qualitative survey of circa 300 people focusing on a range of Northern Ireland service providers within the Belfast and Dungannon council areas
  • A series of focus groups involving service providers and minority ethnic groups (with one group focused on the Irish border region)
  • 85 in depth interviews (40 from service providers, 45 from NGOs/ people from minority ethnic groups)

A major international conference was held on 28 March 2006.

The final report, Improving Government Service Delivery to Minority Ethnic Groups [2.1 MB] was launched on 9 October 2006.