IoD Northern Ireland’s five sub-committees help to direct IoD activity locally on behalf of our members.
Below is an update of the recent work and progress being made through the committees.
The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Judena Leslie, joined the Developing Committee to talk about her efforts to increase diversity on public boards. Targets have been agreed for equal representation of men and women on public body boards. The target to achieve an equal number of women as Chairs of public bodies by 2020/21 sets a new standard for the UK. Such a target is also without precedent in the Republic of Ireland.
Judena explained that Executive Ministers have agreed the following timescales for achieving gender equality in aggregated public appointments:
- by 2017/18 for appointments made in-year;
- by end-year 2020/21 for all appointees in post, with equality reflected both in board membership
- at chair level.
Whilst these targets relate to gender equality, in order to establish a reliable database in relation to participation by ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and young people, it is also intended to collect monitoring information on a voluntary basis from current public appointees.
In one of his last acts as Minister for the Economy before the Assembly fell in February, Simon Hamilton published a paper on an Industrial Strategy for Northern Ireland for consultation. All the IoD’s sub-committees will be contributing to a response to the paper. Any members who would like to add their views, should email IoD Northern Ireland. View consultation paper.
The Business Environment Committee has continued to lobby on the important issue of the stability of Northern Ireland’s energy supply including meetings with the Utilities Regulator, Jenny Pyper and supporting the planning application for the North South electricity interconnector.
Chairman of the Committee, Bill Beers, participated in a panel on the subject of the Commercial Function Plan of the UK government - about managing third party commercial arrangements with government departments, i.e. public procurement.
At the event, Gareth Rhys Williams from the UK government said that everyone responsible for procurement up to a certain level now has to go to an academy to be assessed on their ability to do their jobs and if they do not pass they can no longer work in the procurement function. More public procurement is now outsourced in the UK Government than is done internally.
Education Authority Chairman and IoD member, Sharon O’Connor CDir, attended a meeting of the Education & Skills Committee and described the challenges facing the organisation, which replaced the old Education & Library Boards. The Education Authority is one of the largest public sector bodies in the UK with a £1.5bn budget and around 38,000 employees.
The organisation is looking for a new Chief Executive to replace the current CE Gavin Boyd. Sharon pointed out that the role is akin to running a large, service delivery organisation responsible for functions such as estates management, transport and catering as well as education across Northern Ireland, and that an education background is not a prerequisite for the role.