Interim Head of Civil Service needs to help bring order to a dysfunctional Executive Office – Aiken

Responding to the confirmation of former Utility Regulator Chief Executive Jenny Pyper as the Interim Head of the Civil Service, Ulster Unionist leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, said:

“The appointment of the former Utility Regulator Chief Executive Jenny Pyper as the Interim Head of the NI Civil Service will be of considerable interest to many in the business and energy community, especially many of those critical of her role as regulator.

“She obviously comes with previous NI Civil service experience and has, in the past, worked closely with the First Minister and her then department, and is at least familiar with the inner workings of the Northern Ireland Executive.

“Ms Pyper has huge issues to deal with. Within weeks there will be a border in the Irish Sea, bringing with it massive economic complications for Northern Ireland, its businesses and people. A Brexit deal is imminent and it is vital that Ms Pyper makes it her business to get to grips with whatever the Government is planning. She also needs to concentrate on helping bring order to an Executive Office which remains dysfunctional. There is still no Programme for Government and many commitments remain unfulfilled with policies and strategies left undelivered.

“The need for an effective Head of the NICS has never been greater; the requirement to initiate reform, restore morale and help institute good governance will be key requirements.

“For the sake of openness and transparency, Arlene Foster and Michelle O`Neill should explain what processes they followed that led them to 'engage' Ms Pyper in this role. The written statement to the Assembly which they issued late on Friday evening doesn`t answer any of those questions, but instead raises more. What do the First and deputy First Ministers mean by saying that the role of the Head of the Civil Service will be reviewed? By whom, to what end and when will it be complete?

“As a matter of urgency they also need to state exactly when the process for the appointment of a permanent Head of the Civil Service will begin. The last process was a debacle and it is totally unacceptable if we end up back in the same place again.”

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