Evaluation of Support Hubs in Northern Ireland published today

Date published: 24 March 2021

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published a Research Bulletin into the Evaluation of Support Hubs in Northern Ireland.

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This research publication provides information on the Support Hub initiative established in August 2016 as part of the Problem-Solving Justice approach. The main findings of this report are presented below.

Evaluation of Support Hubs in Northern Ireland

  • This research bulletin provides information on the Support Hub initiative, looking at the background, approach, clients, programme delivery, lessons learnt and next steps.
  • The evaluation comprised of an online survey (n=113) and online focus groups (n=31) with Support Hub members, alongside analysis of administrative data collated by Support Hubs.
  •  As of January 2021, 599 vulnerable people (291 males and 308 females) have been supported by various Support Hub members across ten different council areas to get access to the right support, at the right time, from the right organisations within their local area. The eleventh Support Hub is due to launch in Spring 2021.
  • Of the referrals to Support Hubs, 533 were adults and 66 were young people. The majority of Support Hub clients typically faced addiction issues and mental health problems.
  • Feedback in relation to Support Hubs was largely positive. Support Hub Members felt that their Hubs utilised collaborative working, information sharing and a client-centred approach to help clients deal with challenges. They also felt that Hubs provide practical guidance and support, timely intervention and signposting to additional services.
  • Covid-19 has impacted upon ways of working, resulting in less face-to-face contact and an increase in virtual ways of working, however Support Hub members feel that Hubs continue to work well to meet programme objectives.
  • Suggestions for improvement include obtaining buy-in from all statutory bodies, strengthening formalising ties with the Community & Voluntary Sector, developing training and guidance for all staff, provision of channels for sharing examples of best practice, bettering data collection and obtaining client views in relation to the Hubs.

Notes to editors: 

1.  The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the

2.  Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office via email to press.office@justice-ni.gov.uk


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