AQO 4009/11-15

Mr Tom Elliott
Ulster Unionist Party
Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Tabled Date: 02/05/2013
Answered On Date: 13/05/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Employment and Learning to outline the appointment process for the new chairperson of the governing body of Stranmillis University College.

The appointment process for a new chairperson of the governing body of Stranmillis University College has been carried out in accordance with guidelines issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.
A set of criteria was established and included in a public advertisement for the post and, in greater detail, in an information pack issued to all applicants.
A selection panel was set up consisting of two senior officials from my Department and an independent panel member appointed by the Commissioner.
By the original closing date, only two applications for the post had been received. Given the low number of applications the Selection Panel considered that, the position should be readvertised.
At this stage, the Panel was not aware of the names of the applicants, nor had they reviewed the applications submitted. After seeking advice from the Commissioner that this was a legitimate and compliant course of action, the Panel decided that the competition should be re-advertised.
In order to increase circulation and awareness, the second advertisement was placed in the Sunday Times and the Irish Times in addition to the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News and the Newsletter.
The vacancy was also publicised through the Whitehall and Industry Group and brought to the attention of the CBI, NICVA, the IoD, the NI Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Executive’s Forum. The re-advertisement resulted in an additional six applications being received.
The panel assessed the eight anonymised application forms against the essential criteria to determine those candidates eligible for interview.
After the selection panel interviewed all eligible candidates, it provided me with a list of suitable candidates divided into recommended or highly recommended categories, depending on performance at interview.
It was from this list that I chose the candidate that I believed to be best suited to fill the vacancy.
I have today, announced the appointment of Professor Sir Desmond Rea as Chair of the Governing Body of Stranmillis University College.