Charity Commissioners for Northern Ireland appointed

for Social Development, Mervyn Storey MLA, has announced the appointment of two Commissioners to the board of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI).

The CCNI was established in 2009 as the regulator of charities operating in Northern Ireland following the enactment of the Charities (Northern Ireland) Act 2008. The main functions of the CCNI are to: keep a public register of charities; encourage, facilitate and monitor compliance with charity law; determine charity status; identify and investigate misconduct in charity administration; and take remedial or protective action as necessary.

Mr Seamus Magee has been appointed to the position of Commissioner for a three year term to take effect from 1 June 2015.

Mr Stephen Cockcroft has been appointed to the position of legally qualified Commissioner to take effect from 2 November 2015.

The positions were formerly held by Mr Philip McDonnagh and Ms Rosemary Connolly respectively.

Commenting on the new appointments Minister Storey said: “I welcome Mr Magee and Mr Cockcroft to the Board of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. The personal skills and experience they possess, will further contribute to the important work undertaken by the Board. I wish them well in their new roles.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank the two outgoing members, Mr McDonagh and Ms Connolly for their service and dedication and their contribution to the work of the Charity Commission. I wish them both well for the future.”

These appointments have been made in accordance with the CPA NI Code of Practice.

1. The board of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland comprises a Chief Commissioner, a Deputy Chief Commissioner and five Commissioners. The Chief Commissioner receives £5,750 per annum, the Deputy Chief Commissioner £3,450 and Commissioners £2,300 per annum in respect of their appointments. Legislation determines that at least one Commissioner must be a barrister or solicitor of at least seven years standing. The appointee to the Legally Qualified Commissioner post meets that requirement.

2. Appointments to the CCNI board are made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland’s Code of Practice. A selection panel, which included an independent panel member, as required under the Commissioner’s Code, considered the suitability of all candidates. The final decision on the appointment rested with Minister.

3. 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 appointees to be published. The Appointees have declared no political activity.

4. Appointees:

Seamus Magee lives in Downpatrick. He was the Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland from 2001 until his retirement in 2014. He played a key role in the introduction of individual electoral registration and establishment of a regulatory framework for political parties in Northern Ireland. He was awarded an OBE for services to democracy in the Queens New Year Honours List 2015. He previously worked in the fields of health, social services and consumer affairs. He is a lay assessor with the General Medical Council and serves on the Board of Governors of Assumption Grammar School. He also sits on the Regulator and Quality Improvement Authority for which he receives remuneration of £5,962 per annum and on the OFMDFM: Victims and survivors Service for which he receives a daily rate of £125 with a maximum of £3,000 per annum.

Steven Cockcroft lives in Belfast .He is currently the Managing Partner of Johns Elliot, a commercial law firm in Belfast. He joined the firm as a trainee in 1986 having obtained an LLB from Queen’s University Belfast, and subsequently took a sabbatical in 1993-94 to attend University College Dublin where he obtained an LLM in European Law. Steven’s main practice areas are commercial property law, with a particular emphasis on landlord and tenant issues and matters of corporate governance. He has contributed articles to business and professional publications on these topics. He also currently sits as a co-optee on two Law Society Committees concerned with property matters.