Reappointment of non-executive Member to the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Special Health & Social Care Agency (NIGALA)

Date published: 02 May 2018

The Department of Health today announced the reappointment of a Social Work Professional Non-Executive Member to the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA). The reappointment of Dr Karen Winter will take effect from 12 May 2018 to a date not later than 11 November 2019.

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The reappointment carries a time commitment of 1-2 days per month and attracts an annual remuneration of £2,981 per annum.

The reappointment is made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

Notes to editors: 


1. Dr Karen Winter is a senior lecturer in Social Work, Programme Director for the Professional Doctorate in Childhood Studies and Director of Undergraduate Education at Queens University Belfast. Dr Winter is also involved on a voluntary basis with Fostering Network Northern Ireland. Her experience will be of great benefit to the Board of NIGALA. She has significant knowledge of social work practice both as a Team Manager within a HSC Trust and as a Guardian ad Litem. Dr Winter holds no other public appointments and was appointed as non-executive professional social work member of the Board of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency in May 2014.

2. NIGALA was established under the Health & Personal Social Services Act (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 Mission Statement is: 

‘To advise the courts of children’s wishes and feelings and to independently represent and safeguard the interests of children in specified public law and adoption proceedings in Northern Ireland’.

The Mission Statement expresses the core principles enshrined in Articles 3 and 60 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

3. The reappointment is made with the approval of the Department of Health.  There are no specific qualifications for appointment. 

4. 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. Dr Winter has declared that she has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

5. Media enquiries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdept

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