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Welcome from the Commissioner

Welcome to the website of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.
I was appointed on 1st August 2011. My job is to be the guardian of the processes used to make Ministerial public appointments. I am independent of Government in that guardianship role.
With a small team of officers, I will work to ensure that all public appointments are made on merit, in a fair and open manner, and that opportunities to serve on the boards of public bodies are open to the widest possible field of candidates.
Public bodies, and their boards, play a vital role in the lives of the people of Northern Ireland; in health provision, in education, in policing and justice, in economic and social development matters and right across the spectrum of Government services.
It is important that every citizen who wishes to contribute to the working of those bodies, who has skills or experience to contribute and who has the motivation to serve, is given the opportunity to put his/herself  forward for appointment. My team and I are committed to ensuring that each Government Department has in place effective and efficient processes for recruitment and appointment and that those processes are fairly and openly applied to every public appointment.
This website provides information on the Commissioner, his role and his office.
  • It keeps you up to date with the news on public appointments and alerts you to relevant reports and publications.
  • It gives you the results of audits and investigations conducted by the Commissioner.
  • It lets you know how to seek information or make a complaint to the Commissioner.
  • It lets you know what you should do if you are interested in a public appointment.
I hope you find the website helpful.
If you have comments or suggestions on the website or on any matter relating to public appointments, please let us have them on We take your input seriously.
The Commissioner's 'Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments' is the code that all Government Departments must follow in making public appointments. It is updated from time to time to reflect the latest legislation and best practice.
You can access the current version of the code by clicking on the book below.
Download the CPA NI Code of Practice version 1.1 pdf document. File Size 239kb. This link opens in a new window.
Message from the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland --  Thursday 20th February 2014.
An updated version of the Code of Practice for Ministerial Public Appointments in Northern Ireland, labelled 'JK4', has been posted on the CPA NI website today.
This version comes into immediate effect.
There is one small but significant change in version JK4: it is at section 3.6b and relates to the ongoing work to increase diversity on the boards of public bodies.
Section 3.6b has been included to reflect the input of a wide range of public, private and third-sector bodies consulted on diversity, and at the specific suggestion of the Diversity Working Group set up by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, comprising Departmental officials and others.
Section 3.6b requires the inclusion, in the Appointment Plan prepared by each Department and approved by each Minister in the early stages of every public appointment recruitment competition, of  'a section on diversity which sets out what steps [in outreach and process] will be taken to achieve the best possible spread of applicants and, ultimately, appointees'.
In addition to this Code change, much other work on diversity is continuing; the January 2014 report from the Commissioner, 'Under-representation and Lack of Diversity in Public Appointments in Northern Ireland', containing 26 recommendations for improving diversity, has been supported  by the Permanent Secretaries Group and is currently with the Public Appointments Forum where the Commissioner expects it to be used in the development of government policy and an action plan for achieving greater diversity.
John Keanie.