Northern Ireland Office seeks new civil service commissioner

Secretary of state Brandon Lewis specifies “expertise and fresh thinking” for next member of three-strong panel
Erskine House in Belfast, where the commissioner role will be based. Photo: Donal McCann/TODD Architects

By Jim Dunton

24 Jan 2022

The Northern Ireland Office has launched the hunt for a commissioner for the independent Belfast-based team that oversees senior appointments to the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

One of Northern Ireland’s three-strong team of civil service commissioners is due to step down this summer. Secretary of state Brandon Lewis said he was seeking “outstanding individuals” who could make a real contribution to commissioners’ ongoing work – as well as offering “expertise and fresh thinking”.

According to the NIO’s advertisement, the role of commissioner is expected to involve three or four days of work a month, paid at a rate of £300 a day.

The NIO described the role as a “challenging but rewarding opportunity that calls for someone with good judgement, resilience and sensitivity who can promote the highest standards in public life” in the NICS.

In particular, commissioners are tasked with ensuring that senior appointments to NICS are made on the basis of merit following fair and open competition.

The NIO said candidates would need to be able to demonstrate the ability to take difficult but fair decisions in high profile and controversial circumstances; experience of regulation – particularly in terms of supporting ethical standards; and an “exceptional sense of propriety”.

It added that the five-year role would be based in Erskine House, Belfast, with meetings usually taking place in the Greater Belfast area.

The recruitment campaign is open to applications until the 13 February.

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