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HSCB Migration into Department of Health

HSCB Migration into Department of Health

This page contains historical information from the Health and Social Care Board and details on its migration into the Department of Health.

As part of the wider transformation of Health and Social Care (HSC) services, the functions of the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) were transferred to the Department of Health on 1 April 2022.

The Need for Reform

The decision to close the Health and Social Care Board was taken in 2015 by then Health Minister Simon Hamilton. A review of commissioning arrangements identified a number of weaknesses in the current Health and Social Care system, including complex and bureaucratic structures and a lack of clarity of accountability and decision making.

Proposals to reform the planning and administration arrangements for the HSC, including the closure of the HSCB, were subject to public consultation later in 2015. The consultation report affirmed the need for change. In October 2016 the decision to close was reaffirmed by Michelle O’Neill as Health Minister. However progress stalled as the political institutions required to bring closure forward were not in place.

The Health and Social Care Bill (2021)

With the return of the NI Assembly in January 2020, Minister Swann endorsed the direction of travel. The Health and Social Care Bill (2021) was developed to provide the necessary legislation to effect the closure of the HSCB. The Bill allows for the Department to take responsibility for the functions of the Board and enables a transfer scheme to be developed to facilitate the transfer of staff to the BSO as host employer.

The Bill received Royal Assent on 2 February 2022 and the Health and Social Care Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 became law.

Details of the Bill’s legislative process can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly’s website 

For further information on the HSCB’s migration and the establishment of the Strategic Planning and Performance Group email

Integrated Care System Northern Ireland

The closure of the HSCB is the first step in a wider transformation which will consider how future HSC services will be planned and managed differently.

Work has already commenced on the development of a new Integrated Care System (ICS) for Northern Ireland which signals a new way of planning and managing our health and social care services based on the specific needs of the population.

HSCB Documents