Reappointment of Three Non-Executive Directors to the Public Health Agency

Date published: 24 August 2022

Health Minster Robin Swann has announced the reappointment of three Non-Executive Directors to the Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland (PHA).

doh public appointments

Professor Nichola Rooney (Lay) and Mr John Clayton (TU Rep) Non-Executive Directors’ reappointments commenced on 10 April 2022 and will end on a date not later than 9 April 2026. Mr Joseph Stewart’s (Lay) Non-Executive Director reappointment commenced on 18 April 2022 and will end on a date not later than 17 April 2026.   

The Non-Executive Director position attracts an annual remuneration of

£9,678 with a time commitment of 5 days per month.

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

The Public Health Agency was established in 2009 and is a multi-disciplinary, professional body with a strong regional and local presence. It has four key functions, health and social well-being improvement, health protection, public health support to commissioning and policy development and HSC research.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Joseph Stewart OBE LLB JP has held a number of Board level positions in both the public and private sectors in Northern Ireland having retired in 2016 as Director of Human Resources from PSNI a post which he held from the inception of the Service in 2001. Having graduated in law from Queens University Belfast Joe started his working career in the Engineering Employers Federation NI Association being appointed Director in 1985. In 1990 he was appointed to the Board of Harland and Wolff Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries as Personnel Director a position which he relinquished in 1995 to take up appointment as Chief Executive of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland .Joe has had a lifelong interest in employee relations and has taken a close interest in occupational health safety and welfare in each of these positions. A Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Chartered Institute of Management Joe was appointed OBE in 1994 for public service. Joe is currently Chair of the Governance and Audit Committee of the Public Health Agency and is a Non-Executive Director of the Livestock and Meat Commission where he is Chair of the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee. Joe receives £6485 in remuneration for this role and has a time commitment of three and a half days per month.


  1. Professor Nichola Rooney is a consultant clinical psychologist and former Head of Psychological Services at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. She is current Chair of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Clinical Psychology NI and previous Chair of the NI BPS. Nichola is an Associate Consultant with the HSC Leadership Centre. She holds the position of honorary Professor at the School of Psychology, QUB and chairs the Professional Psychology Workforce Consortium. Nichola was appointed as commissioner on the UK Bereavement Commission in 2021. She was a former Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commissioner and Independent Assessor for Public Appointments. As Chair of the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, Nichola continues to work to improve services for children with congenital heart disease and their families.


  1. Mr John Patrick Clayton is the Policy Officer with UNISON Northern Ireland. John Patrick graduated in Law from Queen’s University Belfast in 2007, before qualifying as a Barrister in 2008. Prior to joining UNISON, he worked in policy roles for the Committee on the Administration of Justice and Children’s Law Centre. John Patrick is a member of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and acts as the trade union representative on the Transformation Advisory Board established to provide advice to the Health Minister on the transformation process within health and social care. John Patrick is also an Executive Member of NIACRO.


  1. Appointments to PHA 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 to be published.  All three appointees have declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.


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