Belfast Telegraph

'Reform czar' appointed to shake up public sector

By David Elliott

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has named the man charged with reforming the Northern Ireland public sector. Dr Colin Sullivan will take up the role of director of the minister's Public Sector Reform Division, one which will be tasked with seeking out efficiencies across the organisation.

Formerly chairman of the Social Development Committee and a director at NI-CO, the not-for-profit body charged with managing donor aid effectively, Dr Sullivan is said to have a wealth of experience in the management of health and social services projects in over 30 countries.

"Colin has an impressive CV in terms of reform," Simon Hamilton said. "This is exactly the sort of role for him and I'd expect Colin to look at best practice elsewhere to showcase what we do in Northern Ireland and to learn from the experience of other regions."

Reform of Northern Ireland's public sector is a task which Mr Hamilton has pledged to undertake since taking up the role of finance minister at the end of July.

Rather than fight to shrink the public sector, he believes focusing on making it more productive and efficient will benefit the private sector longer term.

"Yes the economy is moving in the right direction but the public expenditure environment is changing too," he said.

"We've less resource expenditure but more financial transaction capital and have to focus more on partnering with the private sector."

That partnering is something Dr Sullivan will be focused on, Mr Hamilton said.

"We really need to exploit our partnering with the private sector," he said.

"There is a significant chunk of additional expenditure which will pose challenges to departments that aren't used to doing partnerships. But if we do it (partnering with the private sector) properly it will be good for the economy."

Belfast Telegraph