Background Information on CCRU
Central Community Relations Unit
The Central Community Relations Unit
was established in 1987 to advise the Secretary of State on all
aspects of the relationship between the different parts of the
Northern Ireland community. The Unit, is part of the Northern
Ireland Civil Service and is located within Central Secretariat.
The Unit is charged with formulating, reviewing, and challenging
Government's policies in order to address issues of equality and
improve community relations.
The Unit is currently divided into three branches;
Equality and Equity; Community Relations; and Information, Evaluation
and Research. Each of these branches has its own separate remit. Two
new branches, Linguistic Diversity and New TSN (Social Inclusion)
will be established in the autumn of 1998.
The Government is committed to ensuring,
through a variety of measures, that all sections of the community
in Northern Ireland enjoy equality and equity of treatment. CCRU
is responsible for taking forward a number of initiatives, for
example New TSN, PAFT, and the implementation of the White Paper,
'Partnership for Equality'.
The Community Relations Branch has responsibility
for the funding and administration of a number of community relations
initiatives, together with addressing policy issues on community
relations. Community Relations Branch provides funding to the
Community Relations Council and to the District Council Community
Relations Programme which promotes cross-community contact, mutual
understanding and awareness of cultural diversity. Grant support
is also provided towards the development of community-based facilities
which are accessible to the main sections of the local community.
The Branch has responsibility for a
wide ranging research programme which aims to maintain an up-to-date
body of information on the nature and effects of the major divisions
in Northern Ireland, and to evaluate, assess and report on the
impact of Government's policies, including specific community
relations programmes. A programme of evaluation has been set in
place to determine the impact of community relations projects
and bodies which CCRU funds. The Branch also provides monitoring
and evaluation expertise in relation to the "Peace Programme"
and the community relations measure of the Physical and Social
Environment programme. The Branch provides a statistic, research
and evaluation service to CCRU and, when required, to other parts
of Central Secretariat.
The Main Roles of the CCRU
The CCRU has three broad roles:
- challenge - to ensure that major policy decisions are taken only after careful evaluation of their possible effects on community relations;
- review - to carry out periodic reviews of the most important policies and programmes to assess their impact on community relations; and
- innovation - to develop new ideas about improving community relations and about how best to support those on the ground who are working to improve relations and reduce prejudice.
Further background information on the CCRU is contained in a submission made by Mr Tony Canavan, Director of the CCRU, to the Northern Ireland Forum on 27 February 1998. Mr Canavan was at the Forum to describe the Government's community relations policy.
Conferences and Seminars
As part of its commitment to the dissemination of information the CCRU sponsors a number of conferences and seminars each year.
The CCRU has 17 full-time staff working at offices in the centre of Belfast.
The CCRU can be contacted by a number of methods.