The work of the NI Policing Board's chief executive is being scrutinised by an outside consultant amid claims he is under-performing in his role.
The management consultant has so far been paid more than £12,000 to assess what board chief Adrian Donaldson has accomplished.
Details of the probe emerged only days after a damning independent report on the overall work of the police's oversight body found it slow to take decisions, was bureaucratic and that it was not providing value for its £8.8 million annual budget.
But the move against Mr Donaldson has angered some board members with claims he is being made a scapegoat to mask wider ills in the organisation.
Consultant Dr Alan Lennon, the former chair of exam board the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, was hired by senior board figures around three months ago.
The revelation about Mr Donaldson, who was appointed to the Policing Board's top management role two years ago, comes during an increasingly rocky period for the board.
As well as the critical report by consultant Ken Reed on the body's functioning, in recent months board chair Barry Gilligan was forced to temporarily stand down after police launched an investigation into his role in a Belfast land deal.
Mr Gilligan, a wealthy property developer from south Belfast, has insisted he acted correctly at all times.
DUP board member Jimmy Spratt has reacted furiously to the review of Mr Donaldson's performance.
"The chief executive is being used as a scapegoat," he claimed. "Problems within the board pre-existed Adrian Donaldson arriving. Ken Reed's report clearly indicates an organisation in turmoil, one that is not fit for purpose and not value for money. Mr Donaldson inherited all of that."