Appointment of chair to the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI)

Date published: 28 July 2017

The appointment of Miss Bernie McNally as Chair of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) commenced from 3 July 2017 for a maximum period of four years.

The remuneration for the position of Chair is £35,023 per annum and carries a time commitment of three days per week.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) was established in 2012 following the publication of the Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. The SBNI replaced the Regional Child Protection Committee (RCPC) with an extended role to include the wider area of safeguarding as well as statutory child protection.

The SBNI undertakes Case Management Reviews (CMR), in accordance with the CMR guidance laid out in Annex B of the Guidance to the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI). It is made up of key partner organisations from the statutory, community and voluntary sectors and works with these organisations, professions and the wider community who are concerned about the protection and wellbeing of children. The SBNI strives to improve learning, enhance practice and ensure that children’s voices are at the centre of all that is done by the organisations and professionals who together make up the Child Protection System in order that children will be better protected and kept safer.

2. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Miss McNally has declared that she has not engaged in any political activity.

3. Details of Appointee:

Bernie McNally, BSc, MSW, CQSW, MBA, is a professional social worker and has worked in Health & Social Services in Northern Ireland in a variety of practice and management positions, spanning both adult and children’s social services.

In 2003 Miss McNally was appointed to the position of Director of Social Services/Children’s Services/Mental Health Services in North and West Belfast Health & Social Services Community Trust and in 2007, she was appointed Executive Director of Social Services in the newly formed Belfast Health & Social Care Trust.  Miss McNally’s management responsibilities included all women and children’s services in Belfast including the children’s hospital, the regional maternity hospital, child care/child protection services, child and adolescent mental health services and services to children with disabilities.

In 2012 Miss McNally was seconded to Northern Ireland Cooperation overseas to work in Croatia with the national government administrations on a number of child care projects. Since her return to Northern Ireland, she has been working with the Department of Health as Chair of the team responsible for implementing the recommendations of Professor Kathleen Marshall’s report into child sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland.  She formerly served as a non-executive Director of the Northern Ireland Hospice and is a member of the British Association of Social Workers and a registered social worker with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

In 2011 Miss McNally was awarded an OBE for her services to public service.

4. For media enquiries please contact Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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