Profound divisions damaging Invest NI, review says

The operations and organisation of Invest NI have been reviewed by a panel led by Sir Michael Lyons.

“Profound divisions” at the top of Invest NI are having a damaging impact on the organisation, an independent review has found.

Invest NI is Northern Ireland’s economic development agency.

Its operations and organisation have been reviewed by a panel led by Sir Michael Lyons.

The review found that “relationships at senior levels within Invest NI are damaged and are harming the performance of the organisation”.

It concludes that Invest NI needs urgent improvements in leadership, operations and public accountability.

In the course of their review the panel referred two potentially serious whistleblowing cases to the Department for the Economy, which is Invest NI’s “parent” department.

‘Lack of understanding’

The panel also uncovered an extremely difficult relationship between Invest NI executive leadership team and its oversight board.

They found a lack of understanding among some very senior managers regarding the board’s responsibilities for oversight and strategic direction

The reviewers were so worried, that before they had finished their work, they raised concerns with the senior official the Department for the Economy.

They also heard “widespread concern” that the board, and in particular its chair, Rose Mary Stalker, had at times become too involved in operational issues.

However they added that they understand that this may be “the result of frustrations concerning a perceived lack of transparency within the organisation.”