Independent Chair appointed to the Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners Group

Justice Minister David Ford has announced the appointment of Robert Marshall as the Independent Chair of the Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners Group.

Following a review of the Search and Rescue framework in Northern Ireland a new Practitioners Group, with an independent chair, was recommended. Robert Marshall has been appointed to this position by David Ford and he will take up post on 1 April 2015 for a period of three years.

David Ford said “The new Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners’ Group has a full and challenging programme of work. The Independent Chair has an important role to play in the delivery of this and I have no doubt that Robert Marshall can help achieve its objectives.

“I congratulate Mr Marshall and wish him every success in the role. I know he will bring considerable skills and attributes to the position.”

Notes to editors:

1.The Department of Justice assumed policy responsibility for land and inland water search and rescue (SAR) in Northern Ireland in 2011. To ensure the over-arching SAR framework for Northern Ireland was appropriately governed and structured, the Department launched a strategic review. The review was completed in May 2014 when the Steering Group signed off the review final report and recommendations. The review is available at

2.The review focused on the strategic aspects of search and rescue and made recommendations on structures to support search and rescue bodies in Northern Ireland. One of the recommendations flowing from the review was the establishment of a Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners Group, which would have an Independent Chair and which would deal with the operational aspects of search and rescue provision.

3.Following a public appointment process, conducted in line with OCPANI guidance and with and OCPANI rep on the panel, Robert Marshall has been appointed as the Independent Chair. This is a non-remunerated post.

4.Robert Marshall has an extensive career experience in the public sector, including in areas of Project Management, Human Resources, Procurement and Emergency Planning. He also has senior leadership and management experience, having held leadership positions both with responsibility for large numbers of staff, and as lead for major change management programmes. He has a BA (Hons) Degree and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Ulster.