Chair sought for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Arts Minister Paul Givan MLA is seeking to appoint a new Chairperson of the Board of Arts Council NI.

Expressions of interest are welcome from applicants with an interest in serving the arts sector, including individuals who have not previously held positions in this area.

The Minister said: “This is an opportunity for an individual who is passionate about the arts and who understands the benefits they bring to help shape the future of the arts in Northern Ireland. I would encourage anyone with the required commitment, enthusiasm, skills and experience to apply for this position.

Minister Givan is encouraging women, ethnic minorities, young people and people with disabilities to apply. He said: “I would also encourage women, members of ethnic minorities, young people and people with a disability to apply so that the Arts Council board is representative of our diverse society.”  

The Arts Council has a key role to play in developing and improving the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts, and increasing public access to, and participation in, the arts. The Arts Council is also responsible for the distribution of Lottery grants. It’s statutory functions are set out in The Arts Council (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

All applications for appointment are considered strictly on merit. The final decision on appointments will rest with the Minister for Communities.

The closing date for applications is 12.00pm on Friday 30 September 2016.

Further information including an application pack can be obtained at www.nidirect.gov.uk/public-appointment-vacancies or by e-mailing publicappointments@communities-ni.gov.uk.

You can also contact the Department on the following:

Telephone:       028 90515269

Text Relay Service:      18001 028 90515269

By writing to:   Public Appointments Unit, Department for Communities, Level 10, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EG.

Notes to editors:

  1. This is a competition to appoint a new Chairperson to the Board of the Arts Council of NI. The appointment is for a term of up to four years from 1 December 2016.
  2. The criteria for the positions are as follows:

Essential Criteria:

(i) Corporate Governance and Accountability

Experience of promoting/developing good corporate governance and risk management – gained in the public, private or community and voluntary sector – including a thorough understanding of public accountability and of the principles of corporate governance as they apply to the Northern Ireland public sector.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • Development / implementation of key finance and governance documents and/or policies;
  • Ensuring effective controls and use of resources in an organisation;
  • Developing and using risk management systems / audit functions to identify and manage risk;
  • Awareness of the current financial and economic factors which impact the Northern Ireland public sector;
  • Understanding your individual role and collective responsibilities in the promotion of governance;
  • Understanding of the principles of corporate governance and risk management to ensure proper control and accountability in an organisation.

(ii) Communication

Effective communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to build constructive working relationships with key stakeholders.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • Ability to develop trustful peer relationships;
  • Using persuasive and compelling arguments, using clear, concise language, to get others to understand and accept a different perspective;
  • Evidence of public speaking to significant audiences, including using mass media;
  • Ability to identify suitable communication methods depending on the audience and the situation;
  • Ability to communicate with a wide range of individuals, including senior leaders, and key stakeholders.

(iii) Leadership

Experience of successfully leading an organisation or sectoral group in the public, private or community and voluntary sector, and delivering or overseeing improved organisational performance.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • Implementing and managing major change within an organisation or sectoral group;
  • Development of successful business model;
  • Improving performance and resource utilisation in an organisation or sectoral group;
  • Translating strategy into results;
  • Leading and delivering on major projects involving collaborative workings across a number of organisations.

(iv) Equality and Social Inclusion

Experience of promoting equality and social inclusion as well as an understanding of the contribution which the arts makes to society in terms of social and economic benefits.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • Development and/or implementation of an equality or social inclusion initiative or policy;
  • Delivery of successful outcomes which have addressed inequality or social inclusion issues;
  • An understanding of current equality and social inclusion initiatives within the arts sector;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and difficulties facing the arts sector;
  • Understanding of the benefits which the arts can bring to society.

(v) Strategic Planning

Experience of strategic planning – gained in the public, private or community and voluntary sector – including overseeing the development and successful delivery of corporate strategies and business plans.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • Setting a clear direction and articulating a vision;
  • Identifying key strategic issues and guiding the development and delivery of strategy having considered current and future internal and external factors;
  • Monitoring trends and outcomes of strategies and plans;
  • Awareness of future scenarios and how they should be addressed;
  • Having a broad knowledge and sensitivity to wider political and organisational issues.

(vi) Interest in the Arts

An informed interest in the arts as well as a clear understanding of, and commitment to, promoting access to and engagement with the arts.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • An active interest in the arts sector;
  • Involvement in the production of an artistic product;
  • Delivering successful outcomes through engagement with key stakeholders;
  • Researching and analysing information to inform a proposed way forward;
  • Ability to clearly demonstrate the impact of arts sector;
  • Understanding of impact arts can have, particularly with under-represented, disadvantaged or vulnerable groups or individuals.

Desirable Criteria

(vii) Board Experience

Experience of operating at board level* in a public, private, voluntary or community sector organisation, which is comparable in size and budget to the Arts Council NI.

* ‘Operating at board level’ is defined as having a responsibility for decision-making in respect of corporate strategic issues concerning the organisation for which you are either an employee, board member or adviser.

Examples of the type of evidence the selection panel will be looking for are outlined below. You do not have to describe activities which meet each and every one of these bullet points:

  • Practical experience of attending Board meetings, as well as understanding the role of such forums;
  • Using interpersonal skills and team working skill to achieve an aim;
  • Using negotiation / influencing skills to persuade others to your point of view;
  • Efficiently and effectively promoting and enforcing appropriate financial, resource and procurement rules;
  • Exercising a challenge function on key organisational issues;
  • Achieving key and high level results for the organisation;
  • Showing good judgement and problem solving skills
  1. The Chairperson position attracts remuneration of £10,000 per annum. Travel and subsistence allowances are also payable. This post will require a commitment of at least 40 days per year.
  2. In addition, the Chairperson will be expected to ensure the visibility of the Council by attending arts events on a regular basis.
  3. The appointments are made in accordance with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Public Appointments in NI in accordance with the requirement of the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI. All appointments are based 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.
  4. The Department for Communities is committed to the principle of public appointments based on merit with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process. The Department is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified people irrespective of religious belief, gender, disability, ethnic origin, political opinion, age, marital status, sexual orientation or whether or not they have dependents. The Department particularly welcomes applications from women, young people, people from an ethnic minority and people with a disability for these positions as these groups are currently under-represented at Board level across NI.