- Department for Social Development
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The Department for Social Development is a devolved Northern Ireland government department in the Northern Ireland Executive. The minister with overall responsibility for the department is the Minister for Social Development.
DSD’s overall aim is “tackling disadvantage and building sustainable communities”. 
The department's main responsibilities are as follows:
- community and voluntary sector development
- urban regeneration
- social legislation
Northern Ireland has parity with Great Britain in three areas:
The department is also responsible for the following public bodies:
(jointly with the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister)
- Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
- Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board for Northern Ireland
- Rent Assessment Panel
- Vaughan Charity
It also oversees the Office of the Social Fund Commissioner.
DSD’s main counterparts in the United Kingdom Government are:
- the Department for Work and Pensions (on social security); 
- the Department for Communities and Local Government (on housing and urban regeneration); 
- the Cabinet Office (on the voluntary and community sector); 
- the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (on gambling and alcohol licensing). 
In the Irish Government, its main counterparts are:
- the Department of Social Protection; 
- the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (on housing); 
- the Department of Justice and Equality (on gambling). 
Following a referendum on the Belfast Agreement on 23 May 1998 and the granting of Royal Assent to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on 19 November 1998, a Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive were established by the United Kingdom government under Prime Minister Tony Blair. The process was known as devolution and was set up to return devolved legislative powers to Northern Ireland. DSD is one of 11 devolved Northern Ireland departments created in December 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and The Departments (Northern Ireland) Order 1999.
A devolved minister first took office on 2 December 1999. Devolution was suspended for four periods, during which the department came under the responsibility of direct rule ministers from the Northern Ireland Office:
- between 12 February 2000  and 30 May 2000;
- on 11 August 2001;
- on 22 September 2001;
- between 15 October 2002 and 8 May 2007.
Since 8 May 2007, devolution has operated without interruption.
Ministers for Social Development
Minister Party Start End Nigel Dodds Democratic Unionist 2 December 1999 11 February 2000 Office suspended Nigel Dodds Democratic Unionist 30 May 2000 27 July 2000 Maurice Morrow Democratic Unionist 27 July 2000 24 October 2001 Nigel Dodds Democratic Unionist 24 October 2001 14 October 2002 Office suspended Margaret Ritchie SDLP 8 May 2007 24 May 2010 Alex Attwood SDLP 24 May 2010 5 May 2011 Nelson McCausland Democratic Unionist 16 May 2011
Direct rule ministers
During the periods of suspension, the following ministers of the Northern Ireland Office were responsible for the department:
- ^ Northern Ireland Budget 2011-15, page 99
- ^ http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/work-of-the-executive/ministers-and-their-departments.htm Northern Ireland Executive
- ^ Northern Ireland Act 1998, Part VIII, Social security, child support and pensions
- ^ "About". DWP. 2009-01-20. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/about-dwp/. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ "Communities and Local Government: About us". Communities.gov.uk. http://www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/about/. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ "Big Society". Cabinet Office. http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/big-society. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ "About us". DCMS. http://www.dcms.gov.uk/about_us/default.aspx. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ "Department of Social Protection: Overview". Welfare.ie. http://www.welfare.ie/EN/AboutUs/Pages/dsfa_overview.aspx. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ "Department of Environment, Community and Local Government: Mission Statement". Environ.ie. http://www.environ.ie/en/AboutUs/. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ "Department of Justice and Equality: Other Regulatory Functions". Justice.ie. http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Other_regulatory_functions. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Commencement) Order 2000
- ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2000
- ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2001
- ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2001
- ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
- ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
- ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2002
- ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2007
- ^ Office suspended for 24 hours on 11 August 2001 and 22 September 2001
- PDF (37.0 KB)
Northern Ireland Executive Headquarters: Stormont Castle Heads of governmentJohn O'Dowd (acting) DepartmentsJonathan BellJohn O'Dowd (acting)Not allocated by d'HondtSocial Development Website: www.northernireland.gov.uk
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