Re-Appointment of the chair of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem

Date published: 17 December 2015


Health Minister, Simon Hamilton today announced the re-appointment, for a second four year term, of Bernard Mitchell as Chair to the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Special Health and Social Care Agency (NIGALA) for the period from 3 November 2015 to 2 November 2019.

Latest News

The re-appointment was made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

The board of NIGALA is made up of a non-executive Chair, 4 non-executive members and an Executive Director who is an employee of the NIGALA.  

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Bernard Mitchell lives in Belfast.  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 ten 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 DHSSPS and the Health and Social Care Board. He will bring to his appointment as Chair of NIGALA nearly 30 years experience and knowledge across a broad range of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, much of it at the most senior levels of management. Mr Mitchell holds no other public appointments and has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  2. NIGALA was established by the then Department of Health and Social Services under powers contained in the Health and Personal Social Services (Special Agencies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990.  The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 established the general principle that the welfare of the child will be the Court’s paramount consideration in legal decisions involving children.  NIGALA’s role is to safeguard and promote the interests of children by providing independent social work investigation and advice to the Court in specified public law and adoption proceedings and to provide effective representation of children’s views and interests. 
  3. The Chair of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Special Health and Social Care Agency receives annual remuneration of £7,155.
  4. The re-appointment was made with the approval of the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.  There are no specific qualifications for appointment. 
  5. 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. Mr Mitchell declared that he has not engaged in political activity in the last five years.
  6. Media enquiries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0505.  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

Share this page

Back to top