DAERA's Departmental Board

Departmental Board Members

The Departmental Board (DB) consists of the following members:


Dr Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary and Departmental Accounting Officer.

Executive Members

  • Mr David Small, Deputy Secretary (Environment, Marine and Fisheries Group);
  • Mr Robert Huey, Deputy Secretary (Veterinary Service and Animal Health Group;
  • Mr Norman Fulton, Deputy Secretary (Food and Farming Group)
  • Mrs Fiona McCandless (Rural Affairs, Forest Service and Estate Transformation Group)
  • Mr Brian Doherty (Corporate Services and Contingency Planning Group)
  • Mr David Reid, Assistant Secretary (Finance Director)
  • Mr Sean McGrade (Corporate Services Director)
  • Ms Gail Downey, HR Business Partner (NICS HR)

Non-Executive Members

  • Mrs Sharon McCue
  • Dr Bernie Stuart

More useful links

Departmental Board - minutes of meetings

Departmental Board Committees

Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC)

The Principal Accounting Officer has established the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) as a Committee of the Departmental Board (DB) to support the officer in their responsibilities for issues of risk control and governance by reviewing the comprehensiveness of assurances in meeting the Board and Principal Accounting Officer’s assurance needs and reviewing the reliability and integrity of these assurances.

The ARAC will meet at least six times a year. The timing of these meetings will be dependent on the availability of scheduled papers for consideration. The Chair of the Committee may convene additional meetings as deemed necessary.

As well as providing assurance to the Principal Accounting Officer, the ARAC will ensure that high level information on risk and control is brought to the Principal Accounting Officer’s attention, through DB, in order to assist them in identifying their priorities for action.

The main objective of the Committee is to contribute independently to the Board’s overall process for ensuring that governance, risk management and internal control processes operate effectively. The Committee will do this by forming a consolidated view of all assurance activity within the Department.

The ARAC is advisory in nature and its primary role is to oversee, promote and provide input to all activities associated with business risk, corporate governance and audit.

Finance Committee

The Finance Sub Committee is a sub-committee of the Departmental Management Board and will be responsible for considering a wide range of strategic financial issues. These will include but are not restricted to:

  • marshalling detailed proposals in respect of Spending Reviews and monitoring rounds;
  • the monitoring of savings plans;
  • monitoring value for money through the development of improved financial and performance reporting;
  • monitoring the use of resources (including European Funds) to ensure that funds are allocated to those programmes as intended that deliver best value for money, taking account of ministerial priorities;
  • the Department's Estate Strategy; and
  • consideration of business cases before submission to DFP on behalf of the Board.

Casework Committee

The purpose of the Committee is to provide greater assurance to the Accounting Officer and Departmental Board around significant expenditure decisions made within DAERA. It will increase collective decision making and buy-in to projects, particularly where affordability is a significant consideration.

Equality and Diversity Steering Group Committee

The EDSG is responsible for overseeing and monitoring the Department’s progress against its equality, good relations and human rights obligations; relevant strategies, policies and action plans; including equality screening decisions and equality impact assessments. It will:

  • provide strategic direction for promoting equality, diversity, good relations and human rights across all aspects of internal and external work areas;
  • ensure that DAERA is meeting its statutory equality, good relations and human rights obligations by overseeing the implementation of the Department’s Equality Scheme;
  • provide oversight and direction to ensure that DAERA contributes meaningfully to relevant NI strategies, action plans and periodic reports.

Delivery Committee

The Delivery Committee has a key role to play in the development, implementation and co-ordination of Risk Management and Strategic Business Planning within the Department. The Committee provides strategic clarity for the Department, including oversight of the development and monitoring of the Department’s Strategic and annual Business plan and monitor the delivery of objectives. It also has an oversight role in risk identification and in keeping under review the potential sources of risk. This will promote consistency of approach to Risk and to Business Planning and will provide the Departmental Board with assurances regarding the management of risks and performance against business plans.

Arms Length Bodies Committee

The ALB Committee will ensure that there is a coherent and strategic approach across DAERA in the management of Arm’s Length Bodies. This will promote consistency of business objectives between DAERA and its ALBs and the management of sponsorship arrangements. The ALB Committee will provide the Departmental Board with an oversight of progress of ALB governance arrangements.

DAERA Publication Scheme

The Department has in place a Publication Scheme to ensure it meets its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act. This requires all public bodies to have a scheme in place. In order to meet these obligations the minutes and agendas of DB meetings and its committees, with delegated responsibility, have to be published.

More useful links

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