New Head of the Civil Service announced

Date published: 10 June 2021

Jayne Brady is to be the new Head of the Civil Service, the First Minister and deputy First Minister have announced.

Dr Jayne Brady
Dr Jayne Brady

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill confirmed the appointment after the successful completion of the NI Civil Service (NICS) recruitment process for the new Head of the Civil Service (HOCS).

Jayne is currently the Digital Innovation Commissioner within Belfast City Council and will succeed Jenny Pyper, who has been serving as Interim HOCS since December 2020.

First Minister Arlene Foster said:

“This is a hugely significant appointment for the Northern Ireland Civil Service and for the institutions of government. As leader of some 23,000 civil servants and chief policy adviser to the Executive, the HOCS role is central to the development and delivery of public services. Jayne is an experienced and highly skilled leader who has much to bring to the role.

“After a tumultuous year for the public sector, as society has grappled with the impacts of the pandemic, there is a need now for a renewed focus on rebuilding and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland. Jayne will play a crucial part in guiding the Executive and leading the NICS to support delivery and improved outcomes for the public.

“I wish Jayne every success as she prepares to undertake this important role and offer my thanks to Jenny Pyper who has carried out the duties of Interim HOCS with dedication and conviction.” 

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“I welcome the appointment of Jayne Brady as the new Head of the Civil Service. 

“Jayne brings extensive experience and skills to this critical leadership role in supporting the Executive and leading the Civil Service on the delivery of the commitments from New Decade, New Approach agreement, Programme for Government and the monumental task of recovery as we manage our way through the Covid pandemic.

“I offer my congratulations to Jayne on her appointment.

“I also want to put on record my thanks to Jenny Pyper, who stepped up to carry out the role on an interim basis over the past seven months during a time of great challenge for the Executive and civil service as we have responded to the global health crisis.”

Commenting on her appointment Jayne Brady said:

"I’m honoured to be appointed as Head of the Civil Service.

“The NICS has a dedicated and skilled workforce who have done an outstanding job in the most challenging of circumstances. I will work with colleagues across the service to further develop the NICS as a high-performing organisation that effectively supports the institutions of government.  

“I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenges ahead, but I am looking forward to supporting the Executive in delivering their commitments and priorities during my tenure.”

An announcement on when Jayne will take up her post will be made shortly.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The external HOCS recruitment competition was advertised on 18 March 2021.
  2. The selection process involved an eligibility sift of applications followed by an interview with the appointment panel.  Candidates successful at first interview stage undertook a psychometric assessment and attended a structured conversation with FM and dFM. The final stage consisted of a presentation and interview with the appointment panel who determined the successful candidate. 

Jayne Brady is an engineer at heart with extensive, board experience and a track record of success that transcends blue-chip corporations, start-ups and funding ecosystems. She has over 20 years' leadership experience and a diverse skillset including venture capital, due diligence, corporate governance, setting strategy, leading teams, technical ownership and finance across complex organisational structures internationally.

Recent roles include Partner in Venture Capital firm with £100Mn+ funds under management and co-founder of an Artificial Intelligence start-up.

Jayne is currently Digital Innovation Commissioner within Belfast City Council and Chair of the Digital Pillar of the Belfast Region City Deal which is a £bn investment program.  She has also recently been appointed to UK Government’s Innovation Expert Group and is an Entrepreneurial Expert for the Said Business School at Oxford University.

She is deeply committed to delivering economic and social development through harnessing innovation and was recently recognised for services to the economy with both an MBE and honorary doctorate. 

Jayne has a strong, established professional network and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Irish Academy of Engineers; she sits on the NI Committee for the IoD and the Engineering Policy Group, is a board director on Queen’s University Belfast Spinout Fund, QUBIS and is a Trustee for Young Enterprise NI.

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