Appointment of Ten Non-Executive Directors to Health and Social Care Trusts

Date published: 25 January 2017

Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill has announced the appointment of ten Non-Executive Directors to Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts. The appointments are:

South Eastern HSC Trust: Laura O’Neill, Helen Minford, Joan O’Hagan and Jonathan Patton from 1 January 2017 for a maximum period of four years.

Southern HSC Trust: Geraldine Donaghy, Pauline Leeson and Martin McDonald all from 1 January 2017 for a maximum period of four years.

Northern HSC Trust: Glenn Houston, and Gerard McGivern from 1 January 2017 for a maximum period of four years and Stewart Cuddy from 16 January 2017 for a maximum period of four years.

The appointments were made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. 

The HSC Trusts were established as statutorily separate organisations within the HSC family, responsible for the delivery of responsive and effective health and care services and for the ownership and management of hospitals and other establishments and facilities.

They provide health and social care services against Ministerial priorities, standards and targets.  Services are provided as specified in contracts with the commissioners of health and care services, namely the Health and Social Care Board.  This may include Trusts exercising certain statutory functions, principally in the field of social services, on behalf of the HSC Board.  Although Trusts are statutorily separate organisations, they are an integral part of the HSC and are expected to deliver against an agenda set by the Minister and performance managed by the Department and HSC Board.

Each HSC Trust is managed directly by a board of directors which has corporate responsibility for its operation.  A board is made up of five Executive Directors, seven Non-Executive Directors and a Non-Executive Chair. 

Annual remuneration for these appointments is £7,960 per annum for a time commitment of 1 day per week.   

Notes to editors: 

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 (if any declared) to be published.  All appointees declared that they had not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.


Laura O’Neill graduated from QUB in 2004 with a degree in Sociology. She worked with the Food Standards Agency before joining the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. She obtained Accredited Investigator status via the University of Portsmouth and in 2011 was awarded a Postgraduate diploma from Queen’s University in Criminal Justice Processes. Laura also recently completed a Level 5 Certificate in Management and Leadership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Prior to graduating from university and entering full time employment, Laura combined her studies with part time employment and worked for ten years as a care worker in a nursing home and within a community and hospital setting.

Helen Minford has served for over thirty years in both the public Health and Education Sectors and has held a variety of roles including senior management. Until April 2016, she held the post of Head of School for Health, Care & Sport in Belfast Metropolitan College. Helen led and managed teams as they brought about change, has overseen quality, performance and innovation in line with stakeholder requirements, has led through major inspections and managed a wide range of projects within significant budgetary constraints. Helen was a member of a range of stakeholder groups, collaborative for a and strategic partnerships. She began her career as a nurse and midwife and was a midwifery teacher before moving into the role of practice nurse with responsibility for Health Promotion. In 1998 she took up the post of a Lecturer in Early Years and Health & Social Care.

Joan O'Hagan has had a long and varied career in both the public and voluntary sector.  After training as a nurse, midwife and then health visitor working in primary care, the community, the acute sector and for the Department of Health, Joan  became the Director of Nursing and Community Health in Newry and Mourne Trust  from 1995- 2007.  Following this she worked for Asthma UK as the Director in Northern Ireland from 2007-2015 and was also an independent member of the Policing Board Northern Ireland between 2011-2015. Joan has a particular interest in Governance issues, leadership development and human rights in the healthcare sector.

Jonathan Patton Since 2005 Jonathan has been running his own Management Consultancy business working with Small Business and Charities on governance, health and safety and performance improvement. Commencing his career with Kraft Foods he has worked across several industry sectors at senior management levels; he now serves as a Lay Advisor to the Strategic Management Board for the Public Protection Arrangements in Northern Ireland, as an Independent Assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments and as a Lay Representative with the NI Medical and Dental Training Agency. Jonathan has extensive experience in the Regulatory Sector working on Fitness to Practice Committees with the NI Social Care Council, the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland and the Bar Council for Northern Ireland. Following three decades of service with a range of charities he currently sits as Chairperson of the Community Rescue Service.

Geraldine Donaghy was formerly Chief Executive of the Confederation of Community Groups, Newry & Mourne and until recently was a Trustee with the Community Foundation N.I. She has previously served as a Non Executive Director with the RQIA (Regulation Quality & Improvement Authority) and as a Non Executive Director on Warrenpoint Harbour Authority. Ms Donaghy has also wide experience in governance and compliance within public and voluntary sector organisations and is currently a Charities Commissioner with the Charities Commission N.I.

Pauline Leeson is a Social Worker and Chief Executive for Children in Northern Ireland, the regional network for the children’s sector. She is an Independent Member of the Lisburn and Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership and was awarded CBE in 2013 for services to children in Northern Ireland.

Martin McDonald BSc (Econ), Dip.T.P.MBE commenced his career with local government in 1973 and went on to work in the Town & Country Planning Service and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Martin has been a key figure in the development and implementation of major rural development initiatives and joined the NI Rural Development Council as Chief Executive in 1999. He has also worked with the International Fund for Ireland extending his experience into urban areas, particularly with projects that have a clear focus upon reconciliation. He is a member of the NI Heritage Lottery Fund and also acts as a non-executive director on the NI Fisheries Harbour Authority. Martin is a former director and Chair of Newry Credit Union. He was awarded an MBE for Services to Regeneration.

Glenn Houston has 35 years experience of working in health and social care in Northern Ireland. He was Chief Executive of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) until May 2016. A social worker by profession, Glenn was the first Director of Women and Children’s Services / Executive Director of Social Work in NHSCT. He was previously Chief Executive of the former Craigavon and Banbridge Community Trust and has held other appointments at director level in the Homefirst legacy Trust. Glenn is currently a member of the Board of the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). He is also a Panel member of a Public Inquiry in Scotland.

Gerard Mc Givern is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds an MSc in Local Economic Development. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Fellow to the Institute of Economic Development. He was the founding manager of Banbridge Enterprise Centre and in the 1990s Gerard established the Development Directorate at Banbridge District Council and served as Director of District Development with Newry and Mourne District Council. He had responsibility for economic development and tourism, community services, sports, recreation and arts development, Irish language, Ulster Scots and museum services. During this period Gerard also pioneered a series of cross border economic development initiatives which culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Newry and Mourne District Council and Louth Local Authorities in 2011. Gerard is currently Chairman of the Livestock and Meat Commission and is also a Director of Banbridge District Enterprises Ltd and a Governor of Grange Primary School, Kilkeel.

Stewart Cuddy is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and a qualified accountant. He has held a number of senior finance and management positions in the Health and Personal Social Services, including Executive Director of Finance & Information, and Board Member (Western Health & Social Services Board). He was employed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) as Director of Corporate Services/Deputy Chief Executive  and also served as Acting Chief Executive of the NIHE shortly before he retired in 2013.Mr Cuddy served as a Management Member and Vice Chairman of the Committee overseeing the NI Local Government Superannuation Scheme (NILGOSC) charged with the administration of the pension fund.

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