Extensions to Appointments of Non-Executive Chair and Two Non-Executive Members of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency

Date published: 15 October 2019

The Department of Health has announced extensions to the appointments of the Non-Executive Chair and two Non-Executive Members of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA) Board.

Public Appointments Image

Mr Bernard Mitchell’s Chair appointment will be extended from 3 November 2019 until a new Chair is appointed from the current NIGALA 1/19 competition. It is hoped that this appointment will take place early in the New Year.  The role of Chair attracts a remuneration of £7,444 per annum and carries a time commitment of 2 - 3 days per month.

Mrs Gillian McGaughey and Mr Fred Smyth’s terms of appointment, as Non-Executive legal and corporate governance Members respectively, are to be extended from 1 February 2020 to a date not later than 31 January 2021.  These appointments carry a time commitment of 30 days per annum and attract an annual remuneration of £3,876 per annum.

NIGALA was established under the Health & Personal Social Services Act (Special Agencies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990.  The function of the Agency is to safeguard and promote the interests of children by providing an independent social work analysis and advice in court proceedings and to provide effective representation of children's views and interests. At the heart of the Agency’s work is a commitment to provide a high quality, safe and effective service to all children and young people who are subject of public law and adoption proceedings.

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

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. All the appointees declared that they had not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Bernard Mitchell was appointed as the new Chair to the Agency from 3 November 2011 to 2 November 2015; he has reappointed to this position until 2 November 2019.  He joined the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Postgraduate Management Training Scheme in 1978 and remained within the service until his retirement. He has worked in all parts of Northern Ireland and has experience of managing hospital, social care and community services, including 10 years as Chief Executive of the former United Hospitals Health and Social Services Trust. From 1 June 2006 until his retirement on 31 March 2011, Mr Mitchell held senior positions, on secondment, in the then DHSSPS and the Health and Social Care Board.
  2. Mrs Gillian McGaughey BL LLB lives in Belfast.  Mrs McGaughey is the Education and Training Officer for the Bar of Northern Ireland. Prior to taking up her current post Mrs McGaughey practised as a Barrister specialising in Family & Child Law and lectured at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, QUB. Until 2016 she was the Chair of the Statutory Committee for the Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland and a Legal Services Commissioner. Mrs McGaughey was a Stakeholder member of the NI Social Care Council from 2001 to 2013. She is a member of the Board of Governors of Belfast Royal Academy, the Board of Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast and a Director of Belfast Cathedral Enterprises Limited. She holds no other public appointments and has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  3. Mr Fred Smyth is a fellow of the Chartered Accountants in Ireland having qualified with PWC Belfast. He has held various senior management roles within Bank of Ireland for over 20 years and has extensive business and retail banking experience, including heading up Corporate, Business and Retail Units across Northern Ireland. Fred has assisted the full range of private, public and third sector businesses from start-ups to corporates in growing their business in both domestic and overseas markets. He is also currently a non-executive member of the Board of Include Youth and a former Vice Chairman of Simon Community NI. 
  4. These appointments are made with the approval of the Department of Health. There are no specific qualifications for appointment. 
  5. Media enquiries to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email: pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  6. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.

Share this page

Back to top