Housing Rights Service has recently responded to a DSD consultation on ‘A Strategy for the Delivery of Generalist Advice Services in Northern Ireland 2015 – 2020’. We feel that any future changes to the work, organisation and administration of the generalist advice sector has the potential to impact on the day-to-day work of specialist agencies such as Housing Rights Service. Over 70% of our clients are already referred to us by another agency. Any change in their resources will also have an effect on the demand for HRS.
Access to justice is widely accepted as a cornerstone of democracy and a vital ingredient in protecting weak and vulnerable citizens. Housing Rights Service therefore welcomes the opportunity of responding to this consultation paper. As a voluntary sector organisation which provides legal aid services and contributed to the consultation on the Access to Justice Review, we have a number of particular concerns which are detailed in this response. Given the nature of our work, our comments are largely confined to the area of civil legal services.