Interim Head of the Civil Service announced

Date published: 27 November 2020

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have engaged Jenny Pyper as the interim Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Mrs Pyper was most recently Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (UR). 

It is intended that this interim role will be in place for eight months.

The Ministers said: “We are pleased to announce that Jenny Pyper will be the interim Head of the Civil Service.

“She will take up post at a critical time as the Executive continues to manage its response to, and recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic and prepares for the end of the EU exit transition period. This includes addressing immediate health, societal and economic challenges as well as planning for the future and putting us in the best possible place to rebuild our economy, rejuvenate our society and transform our public services.

“We have agreed that Jenny will chair a newly-established Covid-19 Taskforce, which will deal with crucial issues such as vaccination rollout, mass testing and compliance.

“As set out in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, the Executive is committed to significant and ambitious reforms in the development of an outcomes-based Programme for Government. We have every confidence in Jenny’s ability to lead and further reform the Civil Service and support the development of a PfG that will deliver for our people.”

Jenny Pyper said: “I am delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to lead the NICS and progress delivery of the Executive’s priorities.  

“I am aware of how hard staff right across the organisation have worked and adapted in difficult circumstances, especially throughout the Covid response, to maintain delivery of services to people here, in addition to developing new schemes in response to the challenges of the pandemic. I am confident that the resilience and dedication of the workforce will endure through and beyond these unprecedented times.

“I am proud to have been a civil servant for over 28 years and I will do all I can to further develop a high-performing, outcomes-focused and inclusive NICS that supports the institutions of government and makes a real and positive difference in people’s lives.”  

Jenny Pyper will take up her role on December 1.

A review of the current process for filling the position on a permanent basis is being carried out and a further recruitment campaign will be launched in due course.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Strategic Investment Board was commissioned to assist with engaging an interim HOCS in line with NICS recruitment policy and the NICS Civil Service Commissioners’ Code.      
  2. The Interim HOCS will be paid at a mid-point in the HOCS salary scale (£160,563 - £188,272) plus an amount equivalent to usual NICS employer’s pension contribution.
  3. Work is underway to review the process for filling the HOCS role with the aim of having the post filled substantively within 8 months.

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