Reappointment of Three Non-Executive Directors to the Western Health and Social Care Trust

Date published: 05 May 2023

The Department of Health has announced the reappointment of three Non-Executive (Lay) Directors to the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT).

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The reappointments for Mrs Ruth Laird and Dr John McPeake commenced on 1 April 2023 and will end on a date not later than 31 March 2027. Mr Sean Hegarty’s reappointment commenced 8 April 2023 and will end on a date not later than 7 April 2027. 

The WHSCT Non-Executive Director position attracts a remuneration of £8,727 per annum and requires a time commitment of 1 day per week.

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

There are six HSC Trusts, each established to provide goods and services for the purposes of health and social care, and with the exception of the Ambulance Trust, they are also responsible for exercising on behalf of the Department certain statutory functions which are delegated to them by virtue of authorisations made under the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1994.  Each HSC Trust also has a statutory obligation to put and keep in place arrangements for monitoring and improving the quality of health and social care which it provides to individuals and the environment in which it provides them (Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (NI) Order 2003).

The WHSCT Board comprises a Non-Executive Chair and seven Non-Executive Directors along with five Executive Directors including the Chief Executive.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Sean Hegarty has enjoyed a career spanning 40 years within the financial services sector. During this time, he worked exclusively for Bank of Ireland across many varied areas of responsibility including, Retail Banking, Commercial Lending, Governance, Risk Management, People Management, Business Development and Strategic Development. He achieved Executive status when appointed as MD Business & Retail Banking NI. In recent years, Mr Hegarty has served as a Board Member of Causeway Institute of Further & Higher Education, Coleraine/ Limavady/Ballymoney and he currently serves as a Director of Derry Credit Union Ltd. He holds the roles of Chair of the Risk Management Committee, member of Audit Committee, member of Executive Committee and is recent Past President of Derry Credit Union also. As a Non-Executive Director with the WHSCT, Mr Hegarty is Chair of the Finance & Performance Committee, Chair of Audit & Risk Assurance Committee and has spent three years on the Adoption Committee.
  2. Mrs Ruth Laird CBE is a human resource professional with particular experience in organisational development, equality and diversity.  She was formerly Director of the National Trust, Director of HR, BBC, and a Fair Employment Commissioner.  Ruth has held appointments as a Judicial Appointments Commissioner, Civil Service Commissioner and Independent Assessor for Public Appointments. She has served as a Non-Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Prison Service and Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, and as a member of the Legal Services Civil Appeal Panels. She was a Board member of Business in the Community, a founder member of the Employers’ Forum on Disability and a Council member of Ulster University.  Mrs Laird is currently an independent panel member for Police Misconduct Hearings, an experienced member of the Review Tribunal, and a member of the Victims’ Payments Board for Northern Ireland. She currently holds one other public appointment with the Department of Justice as a Parole Commissioner. Remuneration for this position is based on variable rates for casework, ranging from £359 to £898 per case, depending on case complexity with a requirement to complete between 25-35 cases per annum.
  3. Dr John McPeake spent the bulk of his career working in the field of social and affordable housing, mostly with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). He joined the NIHE in 1982 as a Graduate Trainee and retired in 2014 as its Chief Executive. In retirement he has maintained an active interest in housing and is currently Vice Chair of Wales and West Housing (Cardiff). He has previously held non-executive roles at the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (Belfast), DePaul Housing (Dublin) and Housing Europe (Brussels). Following retirement, Dr McPeake was appointed as an Honorary Professor in Planning at QUB, a role that has recently been renewed. He is currently a member of the International Advisory Committee for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, a consortium of 14 institutions led by the University of Glasgow, and as part of that role he chairs the NI Knowledge Exchange Hub.
  4. Appointments to WHSCT Board are made with the approval of the Department of Health.
  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.  The appointees have declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  6. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail     
  7. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt  
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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