NI Commissioner for Public Appointments: “We just do not have diverse representation on our public boards.”

The new Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland, Judena Leslie, made her first media appearance on BBC NI’s The View last week.  And she began where her predecessor left off, criticising the lack of diversity in those public appointments.  From the BBC report Northern Ireland has about 1,400 public appointments, ranging from unpaid boards of further education colleges to many high profile paid positions. Women, ethnic minorities and people with a disability are all under-represented on public bodies. Thirty-three …

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Public Appointments Commissioner calls for change to “elite” membership of NI Boards

This one seems to have one a bit unnoticed in the media. The BBC reported two weeks ago, the comments of John Keanie the Northern Ireland Public Appointments Commissioner. He complained about a lack of diversity in the membership of the boards of public organisations. According to his publications (here and here) there is a gross over representation of older white men: even worse than their over representation on such organisations in mainland GB. He also suggests that there is …

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NI Public Appointments Commissioner: “Despite all the supportive talk in principle I don’t see any change in the public appointment process.”

When the previous Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland, Felicity Huston, stepped down from the role in 2011 she, pointedly, wished whoever her successor would be “the best of luck”, noting that She said there were difficulties asserting her role as a regulator at Stormont. “People recruit people who look like them, sound like them and have the same life and work experiences,” she said. The commissioner said there were other issues about the independence of her position. “The …

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Felicity Huston: “The Civil Service struggles with the idea of independence”

The Detail has three reports based on an interview with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland, Felicity Huston, who is stepping down next month after 6 years in the role.  Mrs Huston reveals that, despite her repeated requests, she has not met the Head of the NI Civil Service, Sir Bruce Robinson, in an official capacity since his appointment 3 years ago. From The Detail’s main report Mrs Huston later said there had been incredulity within the Civil Service with the queries in the press …

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NI Water crisis: “once this information is in the public domain, it may undermine your perceived independence…”

Following an FOI request, BBC NI’s Stephen Walker reports that the NI Commissioner for Public Appointments, Felicity Houston, has raised concerns about the OFMDFM appointments to the latest ‘independent’ review of NI Water with the head of the NI Civil Service.  That’s in addition to the Commissioner’s previously expressed concern about the NI Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy’s appointments to the interim NI Water Board. From the BBC report In a bizarre twist, staff assisting Phil Holder and Heather Moorhead’s …

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NI Commissioner for Public Appointments: “We couldn’t find out how people had ended up being interviewed…”

It’s worth highlighting the comments by the NI Commissioner for Public Appointments, Felicity Huston, to the BBC NI Spotlight programme last night on the NI Water saga.  From the BBC report Felicity Huston said: “I was a bit shocked about how chaotic it was considering the importance.” Mr Murphy said he had full confidence in the process. However, Ms Huston said it was one of several conducted by DRD she had found to be unsatisfactory. The chairman of NI Water, Chris Mellor, …

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