Northern Ireland news

Jayne Brady appointed new head of NI Civil Service

 Dr Jayne Brady
David Young, PA

Jayne Brady has been announced as the new head of Northern Ireland’s Civil Service.

Dr Brady, who has an engineering background, is currently digital innovation commissioner within Belfast City Council.

She will succeed Jenny Pyper, who has been serving as an interim head of the Civil Service since December 2020.

Ms Pyper was appointed after First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill failed to agree on a preferred candidate in an initial recruitment round last year.

The ministers have now jointly agreed on Ms Brady after a second recruitment round this year.

“I’m honoured to be appointed as head of the Civil Service,” she said.

“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.”

Ms Brady, who has an MBE and honorary doctorate, has more than 20 years’ leadership experience, having worked in a range of organisations, ranging from blue chip corporations to start-ups.

With a track record in venture capital initiatives, she was recently appointed to UK Government’s Innovation Expert Group and is an entrepreneurial expert for the Said Business School at Oxford University.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Directors, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Irish Academy of Engineers.

Mrs Foster welcomed the appointment.

“This is a hugely significant appointment for the Northern Ireland Civil Service and for the institutions of government,” she said.

“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 Ms 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.”

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