New Independent Chair to Inter-Departmental Working Group

Date published: 20 November 2023


The Executive Office (TEO) and The Department of Health can announce the appointment of Lisa Caldwell as the new Independent Chair to the Inter-Departmental Working Group.


The Inter-Departmental Working Group was set up in 2016 at the request of the Northern Ireland Executive to take forward work on historic Mother and Baby Homes/Magdalene Laundries and Historical Clerical Child Abuse. It is jointly sponsored by The Executive Office and the Department of Health.

The appointment commenced on 20 November 2023 and will run for an initial period of one year.

Welcoming the appointment, Gareth Johnston, TEO Deputy Secretary, said:

“Lisa will have a key contribution leading the working group in its role to consider available evidence, including that from research as it becomes available, and to develop and present recommendations to Ministers on a proposed way forward.”

“The Executive Office looks forward to working with Lisa following her appointment.”

Following the Group’s work on Mother and Baby Homes/Magdalene Laundries, future work will focus on Historical Clerical Child Abuse.

Mother and Baby Homes/Magdalene Laundries and Historical Clerical Child Abuse fell outside the Terms of Reference of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which dealt with historical abuse of children in residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

The membership of the Group includes representatives from the Executive Office, the Departments of Health, Justice, Education, Economy, Communities, and the Departmental Solicitor’s Office.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Lisa Caldwell has eighteen years’ experience across private, public and voluntary sectors working in and alongside government, both nationally and internationally.  Lisa is currently a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and a Non- Executive Director for the Fundraising Regulator UK.  Previously, she was Director of External Affairs at Belfast City Council. She is a Fellow at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a Fulbright scholar.
  2.  All appointments are made solely on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.
  3. In the absence of Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive, this appointment was made under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2022.

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