Appointment of Chair and additional members made to the Board of the Victims and Survivors Service

First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson, MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, MLA have announced the appointment of Mr Oliver Wilkinson as Chairperson to the Board of the Victims and Survivors Service.

Ministers also announced the appointment of Beverley Clarke, Patricia Haren, Seamus Magee and Stephen McIlveen as Board members.

Welcoming the appointments the Ministers said: “We are pleased to announce the appointment of the Chair and additional members to the Board of the Victims and Survivors Service.

“Victims and Survivors are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and it is imperative to provide services which are sensitive yet responsive to their needs.

“The Victims and Survivors Service is committed to providing the best possible support services, both directly to individuals and through victims’ groups.

“We remain committed to ensuring the needs of vulnerable victims and survivors are met in an appropriate and timely manner. We have and will continue to work closely with a range of people, groups and organisations to make maximum impact with the available resources.

“The Victims and Survivor Service Board has a crucial role in ensuring it is capable of providing support in a coordinated, outcome focused and efficient manner.”

The new Chair and Board members are appointed from 1 April 2015 for a period of four years.

Notes to editors:

1. The principle aims of the Victims and Survivors Service are:

• to assess the individual needs of victims and survivors, as identified by the Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, and develop a tailored package of care and support to meet those needs; and
• to administer funding to organisations that provide services and support.

2. The appointment of Chair attracts a salary of £8,200 per annum and a Board member £125 per day up to £3000 per annum. The term of appointment is for four years with the possibility of one renewal for a further period of four years.

3. Biographies:

Oliver Wilkinson has approximately 20 years senior management experience in the voluntary sector, firstly as CEO of Victim Support NI from 1992- 2002 and CEO of Discovery 80 Ltd from 2002-2011. Oliver is also a founding member of Healing Through Remembering. He was appointed to the Board of the Victims and Survivors Service as member in December 2013 (£125 per day up to £3,000 per annum) and has been interim Chair since July 2014 (£8,200 per annum).

Beverley Clarke, through the Social Services, has worked in the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. She has worked with various organisations as an independent child protection consultant since 1997. Beverley is currently a Panel Member in the Acknowledgement Forum in the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

Patricia Haren was the Director of the Women’s Support Network from 2004 to 2014. Patricia has been a Governor at Belfast Metropolitan College from 2007 (no remuneration).

Seamus Magee was head of the Electoral Commission from 2001 to 2014, Chief Officer of the Southern Health and Social Services Council for nine years and a member of the Consumer Council for seven years.
Seamus is currently a non-executive Director to the Board of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (£5,962 per annum). Seamus is also a Governor of Assumption Grammar School (no remuneration).

Stephen McIlveen has been a councillor on Ards Borough Council since 2011 and was Mayor from 2013 to 2014. He was a member of Queen’s University Senate from 2005 until 2010. Stephen is currently a Commissioner on the Equality Commission for NI (£5,000 per annum).

4. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of the appointees to be published. Only one of the appointees has declared any political activity in the last five years. Stephen McIlveen is currently a Councillor on Ards Borough Council and North Down and Ards District Council (now known as North Down and Ards District Council) and is a member of the Democratic Unionist Party.

5. Whilst the appointments are not regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland, they were made in the ‘spirit’ of the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner.