Fifty Ways to Help the Health Service

Date published: 24 September 2019


The Department of Health is encouraging members of the public to serve on the boards of health and social care bodies.

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People from all walks of life are invited to apply for key leadership roles for vital services.

The Department anticipates that 50 positions will become vacant over the next 2 years on bodies responsible for the oversight of health and social care services in Northern Ireland.

The Department today publishes the first edition of a new monthly newsletter publicising vacancies for the positions of chair and non-executive members on boards of public bodies.

The new recruitment competitions announced in the newsletter are for the chair of the Health and Social Care Board, chair of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA) and a social work member appointment to the Board of NIGALA.

The newsletter also anticipates further competitions in the months ahead for the Boards of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery, the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency, the Public Health Agency, the Health and Social Care Board, the Patient Client Council and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

The Department hopes that by publicising in advance the opportunities for the public to serve as chairs and members of our ALBs, on a more comprehensive basis, this will demonstrate the depth and breadth of available posts across Health and Social Care giving prospective candidates time to consider where their experience and knowledge would be put to best use on behalf of the community.

Richard Pengelly, the Department’s Permanent Secretary said: “Public bodies across Health and Social Care deliver important and essential public services in Northern Ireland, collectively spending over £5 billion a year. We need talented people with the skills and experience to serve as chairs or non-executive members on boards providing the direction and leadership to these bodies, holding senior staff to account and providing independent advice. I would encourage people from across the community and from all walks of life to apply for these important positions to ensure that we achieve inclusive and diverse boards reflecting the needs of the communities they serve.”

Noting the new approach being taken by the Department of Health to make its public appointments more diverse and transparent the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Judena Leslie said: “It is obvious that the Department is making a significant effort to improve its public appointment processes.  I believe that this new approach will serve to strengthen our public boards.” 

A public appointment is generally a Ministerial appointment to the board of a public body or advisory committee. The Department of Health has responsibility for appointments to the boards of 18 bodies with a total of 172 chair or member positions covering both lay and expert appointments.


Notes to editors: 

  1. The Public Appointments newsletter can be found on the Department's website
  2. The Department will operate a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for both the HSCB and NIGALA competitions. The GIS has been developed for applicants with disabilities or those with long term impairment or a health condition that is expected to last for at least 12 months. In these instances, provided that the applicant has demonstrated in their application form that they have met the essential criteria for the post, the applicant will be offered a guaranteed interview.
  3. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0567 or email: For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  4. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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