Extension to the Term of the Non-Executive Chair and the Reappointment of a Non-Executive Lay Director to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service

Date published: 24 August 2022

Health Minister Robin Swann has announced the extension of the Chair and the reappointment of a Non-Executive Lay Director to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS).

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Mrs Nicole Lappin’s term as Non-Executive Chair has been extended from 1 July 2022 to a date not later than 31 December 2022; and Mr Dale Ashford has been reappointed as Non-Executive Lay Director from 16 April 2022 to a date not later than 15 April 2026. 

The Chair position attracts an annual remuneration of £24,713 for a time commitment of 2.5 to 3 days per week, and the Non-Executive Director position attracts a remuneration of £6,406 annually for 3 days per month.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service exists to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland. NIAS provides quality emergency, urgent and primary care services which is available to everyone. NIAS has 46 stations spread over 5345 square miles and serves over 1.8 million people.

The NIAS Board comprises a Non-Executive Chair and five Non-Executive Directors.

These appointments are made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mrs Nicole Lappin was appointed as NIAS Chair in July 2018. Currently, Nicole is the Chief Commissioner of the Charity Commission and a Non-Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service where she chairs its Audit Committee. In October 2020, she was appointed as the legally qualified Chair of a fitness to practise committee for the Pharmaceutical Society. In 2021 Nicole became Chair of the Public Sector Chairs’ Forum. A qualified barrister, Nicole also tutors at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University and is a governor at Craigavon Senior High School where she chairs its Finance Committee. Previously, Nicole served on the Board of the Education Authority and was a Non-executive Director with the Irish Auditing Accounting and Supervisory Authority until September 2020. Nicole holds 2 other public appointments:  she was appointed by the Department for Communities to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland in August 2019 as Chief Commissioner; this position attracts remuneration of £5,880 annually for 2 days per month. She was appointed by the Department of Justice to the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service in October 2017 as an independent Departmental Non-Executive Board member; receiving remuneration of £500 per day for approximately 8 days per year.


  1. Mr Dale Ashford QFSM served for 30 years as a Firefighter, joining the then Northern Ireland Fire Brigade in May 1987. He retired from Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service in 2017 having served in a wide range of operational and specialist roles and having achieved the level of Interim Chief Fire Officer. Since 2017 Dale has worked as a consultant, and has served in a variety of roles, including as a Trustee in the Community & Voluntary sector and as a Non-Executive Director for the NI Prison Service, and as Chair of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.


  1. Appointments to NIAS are made with the approval of the Health Minister.


  1. 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 within the last 5 years to be published.  Nicole Lappin has declared she was a member of the DUP until 2017 and briefly held the position of Treasurer in her local branch and canvassed on behalf of the DUP party in the 2017 elections.  Mr Dale Ashford has declared that he was previously a member of the Alliance party until 2018.


  1. Mr Ashford has advised that he does not hold any other public appointments.


  1. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail               pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk   Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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