Appointment of one and extension of one non-executive Director to the Public Health Agency

Date published: 27 July 2016

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced the appointment of Ms Deepa Mann-Kler as a non-executive Director to the Public Health Agency (PHA) for a four year term from 1 March 2016 to 29 February 2020, along with a 12 month extension of Mr Thomas Mahaffy’s term as a non-executive Director from 7 April 2016 to 6 April 2017.

The PHA Non-Executive Director appointments carry a time commitment of five days per month and attract an annual remuneration of £9,004

The PHA was established in 2009 under a major reform of health structures in the north of Ireland. It is a multi-disciplinary, multi-professional body, with a strong regional and local presence. The Agency was established to provide a renewed and enhanced focus on public health and wellbeing by bringing together a wide range of public health functions under one organisation. It is required to create better inter-sectoral working, including enhanced partnership with local government, to tackle the underlying causes of poor health and reduce health inequalities.

The four key functions of the Agency are:

  • Health and social wellbeing improvement
  • Health protection
  • Public health support and policy development
  • Health and Social Care research and development

The PHA is managed directly by a board of directors which has corporate responsibility for its operation. The board of the PHA is made up of four Executive Directors including the Chief Executive, a non-executive Chair and seven non-executive Directors. The non-executive Directors include a Member from a social care background; a Trade Union Representative Member, two Local Government Representative Members, one Financial Member and two Lay Members. 

The appointment and extension were made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI. A selection panel which included an Independent Assessor as required under the Commissioner’s Code, considered the suitability of all candidates. The final decision rested with the Minister.

Notes to editors: 

  • Deepa Mann-Kler is an Independent Assessor with the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI, Chair of the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, member of Council for Ulster University, a non-executive Member for the Registers of Scotland and served as a non-executive Director with the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust for just under nine years. Her areas of expertise include corporate governance, risk management, communications, stakeholder engagement, research skills, strategic planning, ethics, equality and anti-discrimination. As a visual artist, Deepa Mann-Kler works in neon and light installations, painting, drawing and photography.
  • Mr Thomas Mahaffy MSc BA (Hons) lives in Newtownards. He is employed by UNISON as Head of Organising and Development with a lead responsibility across a wide range of public policy issues including equality, human rights, and health inequalities and developing partnership working with Health Trusts and other bodies on a local and international basis. He is a Board Member of the NI Human Rights Consortium, the NI Anti-Poverty Network and Participation and the Practice of Rights. He holds no other public appointments and has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  • The appointment was made with the approval of the Minister for Health. There are no specific qualifications for appointment. 
  • All appointment and extension are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Both appointees declared they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  • Media enquiries to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0579. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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