Membership of Commission
Sid McDowell CBE - Chairman
Mr Sid McDowell was Deputy General Secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance from 1976 to 1994 and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive from 1995 to 2004. Sid was also Chairman of the Local Government Staff Commission for Northern Ireland, stepping down in November 2005. Sid was appointed as a Northern Ireland Civil Service Commissioner in 1999. He is President of the Northern Ireland Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, Vice-President of the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (NI) and a Board Member of Habinteg Housing Association and the Lyric Theatre. Sid was appointed as Chairman of the Northern Ireland region of the National House Building Council in 2008. He is also a non-executive Director of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
Professor Bernard Cullen
Bernard Cullen is Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast. Educated at Queen’s, the Sorbonne in Paris, and the University of Michigan, he is a graduate of the Cabinet Office Top Management Programme. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis. A former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Queen’s, he has also been Vice-President of the Belfast & District Trades Union Council, President of the Irish Philosophical Society, President of the Irish Association for Cultural, Economic and Social Relations, and the inaugural Chair of the Ethics Committee of the British Confederation of Psychotherapists. Bernard is currently Chair of the Staff Commission for Education & Library Boards, Vice-Chair of the Council for Education in World Citizenship, and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Parkanaur College.
Dr Brian Hanna CBE
Jim Mc Cusker
Jim has over 40 years’ experience of industrial relations. Most of his working life has been spent with NIPSA (Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance), where he held the position of General Secretary from 1977 until his retirement in 2003. In addition to being appointed as Chairman of the Labour Relations Agency in 2009, Jim holds a number of other appointments including membership of the European Economic and Social Committee, Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, Economic Development Forum and Concordia.
Brenda McLaughlin CBE
Brenda is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and has served as Senior Pro-Chancellor at Queen's since 2000. She is a Director of Ulster Bank and was Chair of the NI Opportunity Now Campaign for nine years. She was appointed to the Departmental Board of the Northern Ireland Office in 2001 and served for a period of five years. In 2008 Brenda was appointed as Chair of the Civil Service Commissioners for Northern Ireland.
Her background has been predominantly within the Health Service in Northern Ireland, having served as Vice-Chairman of the Eastern HSS Board, before being appointed Chair of S&E Belfast HSS Trust in 1993, a position she held for nine years.
A former Board Member of Business in the Community, she currently sits on the Executive Council of Action Cancer and has been on the Boards of the NI Chest Heart and Stroke Association and Extern.
Mr Mitchell is currently a part-time Consultant and Advisor on Public Sector Policy. This involves work with the Strategic Planning Framework for Northern Ireland Negotiating Council – LGSC, Policy Asset Management policy and technical guidelines for local authority, Community consultation and policy development advice seminars and training, assisting preparation of EU and DFID project and programme bids in Eastern Europe and Local Government Management Programmes. Dessie is recently retired from the position of Clerk and Chief Executive of Armagh City and District Council, a post he held from 1988 - 2000. Previous to this he was the Clerk and Chief Executive of Omagh District Council from 1973 – 1988. He has also undertaken many International Consultancy Assignments including a Scoping visit for Regional Development in Romania and assisting a Regional Local Government Governance programme in Russia.
Mr Mitchell has also held numerous other positions.These currently include Trustee of Navan at Armagh Management Ltd, Director of Armagh Business Centre Ltd, Governor of Armagh Royal School and Advisor to Institute of Governance, Queens University, Belfast.
Dr Collim Patton
Dr.Patton worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist for 27 years and in addition held the posts of Lecturer at Queen’s University, Medical Director at St.Brendan's Hospital, Bermuda and Chief Executive of the Down Lisburn Trust. In this latter role he was required to merge two separate units and introduce a general management structure into the resulting single organisation. This Trust was later acknowledged to have sound finances year on year, excellent quality systems and a record of continuous innovation.
Since retiring from full time practice in 2001 Dr Patton has variously worked in management consultancy, the provision of medico-legal opinion and on the Board of a private sector company.