Northern Ireland Civil Service Board

NICS Board Minutes 2020 - 2023

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About the Board

The NICS Board provides concerted strategic leadership of the work of the NICS in support of the Northern Ireland Executive. It is crucial to achieving the whole-system approach needed to support the development and delivery of the Executive’s priorities, through the provision of collective advice and oversight of the organisational change required to optimise delivery and impact.

The character of the Board is defined in particular by the following features:

A.the Permanent Secretary members of the Board are the Accounting Officers for their respective Departments, accountable to the Assembly for the management of their own departments and to their Minister for the delivery of the Minister’s policies;

B.policy decisions in respect of the NICS are ultimately the responsibility of the Minister of Finance;

C.the Head of the Civil Service is Chair of the Board but is not the Accounting Officer for the administration as whole.

The current priorities for the Board have also been shaped by the lack of a programme for government, the absence of an Executive since February 2022, the absence of an Assembly since May 2022, and the absence of Ministers since October 2022.

In this context, the Board has sought to deliver, for the first time, collective advice to Ministers about the work of the Executive on its return.  And it has taken up a role in supporting Permanent Secretaries as they manage the work of government in the absence of Ministers.

The nine Departmental Permanent Secretaries, who with the Head of the Civil Service and colleagues at an equivalent grade, comprise the membership of the Board, are accountable to the Head of the Civil Service for their individual performance, to their Ministers for the overall performance of their departments, and directly to the Assembly for their Accounting Officer duties. Accordingly, the Board has no Directors with fiduciary responsibilities such as those required in the private sector under company law.

In February 2023, the Board was reconstituted and three independent Non-Executive Members have taken seats on the Board.

NICS Board Membership

Non-Executive Members

Additional Representation

Senior Reporting Officer (SRO) leads of Programme boards and others will be invited to attend meetings as appropriate to deal with issues that fall within their areas of responsibility, as such, the Director of People & Organisational Development is in regular attendance.


Secretariat support to the NICS Board is provided by The Executive Office (TEO).

Chris Stewart Deputy Secretary Executive & Central Advisory Division

Jayne Byrne Chief of Staff to HOCS

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