Connect with us

General

New Head of the Civil Service Announced

Dr Jayne Brady MBE

Jayne Brady is to be the new Head of the Civil Service, the First Minister and deputy First Minister have announced.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill confirmed the appointment after the successful completion of the NI Civil Service (NICS) recruitment process for the new Head of the Civil Service (HOCS).

Jayne is currently the Digital Innovation Commissioner within Belfast City Council and will succeed Jenny Pyper, who has been serving as Interim HOCS since December 2020.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a hugely significant appointment for the Northern Ireland Civil Service and for the institutions of government. As leader of some 23,000 civil servants and chief policy adviser to the Executive, the HOCS role is central to the development and delivery of public services. Jayne is an experienced and highly skilled leader who has much to bring to the role.

“After a tumultuous year for the public sector, as society has grappled with the impacts of the pandemic, there is a need now for a renewed focus on rebuilding and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland. Jayne will play a crucial part in guiding the Executive and leading the NICS to support delivery and improved outcomes for the public.

“I wish Jayne every success as she prepares to undertake this important role and offer my thanks to Jenny Pyper who has carried out the duties of Interim HOCS with dedication and conviction.” 

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “I welcome the appointment of Jayne Brady as the new Head of the Civil Service. 

“Jayne brings extensive experience and skills to this critical leadership role in supporting the Executive and leading the Civil Service on the delivery of the commitments from New Decade, New Approach agreement, Programme for Government and the monumental task of recovery as we manage our way through the Covid pandemic.

“I offer my congratulations to Jayne on her appointment.

“I also want to put on record my thanks to Jenny Pyper, who stepped up to carry out the role on an interim basis over the past seven months during a time of great challenge for the Executive and Civil Service as we have responded to the global health crisis.”

Commenting on her appointment, Jayne Brady said: “I’m honoured to be appointed as Head of the Civil Service.

“The NICS has a dedicated and skilled workforce who have done an outstanding job in the most challenging of circumstances. I will work with colleagues across the service to further develop the NICS as a high-performing organisation that effectively supports the institutions of government.  

“I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenges ahead, but I am looking forward to supporting the Executive in delivering their commitments and priorities during my tenure.”

An announcement on when Jayne will take up her post will be made shortly.

Continue Reading

General

New Measures to Support Childcare Providers

Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen today announced a further extension to two Covid-19 childcare support funds.

This includes a third phase of the Childcare Sustainability Fund for the period 1 April to 30 June 2021 and the Childcare Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund from 1 April to 30 September 2021.

The Minister said: “I am pleased to announce a further extension of the financial support available to the childcare sector as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. These schemes will supplement approximately £30m of emergency funding which has already been provided to the childcare sector up to March 2021.

“The Covid-19 Childcare Sustainability Fund will provide vital financial support for eligible registered childcare providers who are continuing to incur additional costs while operating within Covid-19 guidance and a reduced demand for services during this recovery phase. 

“While the closure of childcare providers remains very low, the Childcare Covid-19 Temporary Closure Fund will minimise the financial impact on childcare providers who have been forced to temporarily suspend their services due to a Covid related incident within their provision.”

The Temporary Closure Fund will also support parents, as funding is only available to those childcare providers that do not charge parents while their provision is temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 cases.

The Minister concluded: “The continuation of this funding during these final stages of recovery and easing of restrictions, recognises the vital role that childcare providers play in supporting the economy and supporting families.   I want to thank the childcare sector for its continued dedication to maintaining services during these challenging times.”

The two extended Covid-19 support funds open from 18 June 2021 for applications from eligible daycare, school-aged childcare settings, childminders, crèches and playgroups. Eligible childcare providers will be able to apply for funding via Early Years – the organisation for young children website.

Continue Reading

General

Belfast Pride Release Statement Regarding This Year’s Events

Belfast Pride have today released a statement regarding this year’s event. Their statement can be found below.

Belfast Pride is the main event of the year for the LGBT + community in Belfast and our biggest platform to protest for our rights and to celebrate our identities. We want to be on the streets with the rest of our
community celebrating advances on Equality issues and protesting for Trans Rights, to end Conversion Therapy and challenge hate and discrimination.

Belfast Pride will be happening this year and although things have moved on from last year, we’re sorry to say that there hasn’t been enough progress to allow the large scale events like the Belfast Pride Parade and Party in the Square to safely happen this year.

The health and wellbeing of our wonderful, diverse community matters and we’re not prepared to put people at risk. It’s great that some smaller events can happen within the restrictions and our community groups and our community venues are already busy planning.

Belfast Pride will be online and in person from Friday 23rd July – Sunday 1st August with Pride Day on Saturday 31st July.

We had been holding out in hope for the announcement of easing of restrictions on June 10111, hoping that this wou ld allow the main events of Pride Day to happen but the guidelines and the timelines leave too much uncertainty to allow progress and the detail matters with public safety.

It has been frustrating trying to find ways to make the Belfast Pride Parade and Party in the Square happen safely as the proud, diverse and dedicated team of volunteers who make up Team Pride want nothing more than to play their part in delivering Belfast Pride festival for our community.

We have been working with the PSNI, Parades Commission, Belfast City Council and other agencies to try to plan for safe events but we can’t yet safely bring 55,000 people on to the streets of Belfast for Pride Day. We need to prevent any chance of infection that could be attributed to Pride and anything that would adversely affect our community as a whole

We still need the visibility that Belfast Pride brings and we have been discussing smaller scale physical events with our community partners and supporters and we want to hear your ideas for how we can best make an impact to safely mark Pride this year. Despite the ongoing restrictions, we want a programme full of colour, diversity and Pride.

We hope that Belfast Pride will be back in full next year – we all deserve the biggest, most diverse and best Pride yet but we can still bring the Pride rainbow to Belfast this year.

Continue Reading