Local Government Boundaries Commissioner appointment

Date published: 16 June 2020

The Department for Communities has announced the appointment of Ms Sarah Havlin as Local Government Boundaries Commissioner.

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The role of the Commissioner involves reviewing the number, boundaries and names of local government districts and wards, and making recommendations to the Department. The review, which will involve public consultation, will take approximately a year to complete.

Welcoming her appointment, Communities Minister, Carál Ni Chulín said:

“I welcome Ms Havlin to the role of Local Government Boundaries Commissioner. She brings valuable personal skills and experience to what will undoubtedly be an interesting and challenging position.  The start of the review has understandably been slightly delayed by the current crisis but I wish Sarah and her team well as they carry out this important role.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The review started on 1 June 2020.  A review of local government boundaries typically takes around 12 months to be completed and, as such, the Commissioner appointment will be for 12 months. Legislation governing the appointment of the Commissioner is set out in the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972. It stipulates a requirement that a Commissioner is appointed within 8-12 years following the final report of the previous Commissioner – this was issued in June 2009.
  1. Although this appointment is not regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland, it was made in accordance with her Code of Practice. A selection panel, which included an independent panel member, as required under the Commissioner’s Code, considered the suitability of all candidates. The final decision on the appointment rested with the Permanent Secretary.
  1. The appointment was made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. The Appointee has declared no political activity.
  1. Sarah Havlin has a background in law.  She is a solicitor by profession with many years of experience in formal decision making across a variety of tribunals and public enquiries.  She has extensive experience in the setting of administrative boundaries, most recently as Parliamentary Boundary Commissioner for Northern Ireland, and will bring a breadth of leadership qualities and skills to the role of Commissioner.
  1. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office by email: press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk
  1. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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