Louise Warde Hunter is Deputy Secretary, Central Services and Rural Affairs Group DAERA, having previously worked as Deputy Secretary Central Policy Group in DARD prior to the formation of the new department in May 16. Before that Louise was Head of Policing Policy and Strategy Division at the Department of Justice. Louise joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 2004 as Director of Research, Policy and Youth at the Department of Education. In 2009 she left to work as Strategic Director of Children's Services covering Scotland and Northern Ireland for a major UK children's charity before returning to NICS in autumn 2012.
Following her early career in the private sector in London, Louise returned to Northern Ireland to head up Common Purpose, the independent civic leadership trust which, over a decade, she developed into an all island organisation. Louise has also worked as an independent consultant and in a variety of non-executives roles in Northern Ireland. Louise is a graduate of Manchester and Queen's universities. She is married with three children and lives in Belfast.