Statement from the Invest NI Chair and Board on the Independent Review of Invest Northern Ireland

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We welcome Sir Michael Lyons’ Review and its conclusion that, as an Arms Length Body, Invest Northern Ireland remains the appropriate organisation to deliver economic development.

We recognise the need to be a more outgoing and better partner with the wider NI public and private sector to deliver sustainable and inclusive economic growth throughout Northern Ireland.

The Board is committed to the transformative change needed for Invest NI to become a more efficient, agile and outcomes focussed organisation delivering an even greater impact throughout the economy. This change has already started. The Review will help us move forward with renewed focus and accelerated pace to reshape Invest NI into the economic development agency it needs to be to deliver on the Department for the Economy’s (DfE) 10X Vision.

Driving transformational change, new emerging policy direction and ambiguity on roles and responsibilities has led to challenges on priorities, and divisions amongst leadership. We accept this working and with DfE will urgently reshape and refocus leadership so that we can drive forward the necessary change with clarity and unity, and rebuilt confidence.

We also recognise the need to look at the who, what, where, when and how we support business growth, and reassess our range of programmes with clear prioritisation based on impact and strong alignment to the principles of DfE’s 10X Economic Vision.

The Review stresses the importance of effective partnership working and highlights the need for clear policy direction and strong alignment between DfE, Invest NI and the wider economic eco-system. It sets out a pathway for the future direction of economic policy and the role of Invest NI. We will work with the Department to develop a clear plan with outcome-based targets to deliver the 10X Economic Vision.

Over the past 20 years, this organisation has delivered strongly against the policy priorities set for it. Many individuals and families are much better off and we have supported the emergence of new sectors where NI either has, or has the potential to have, world leading capability.

The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Invest NI for this strong track record of delivery and specifically acknowledge the role that Mel Chittock has played in stepping up to lead the organisation in unprecedented circumstances.

We would like to acknowledge the Review team, its secretariat, Invest NI staff and our wider stakeholders who have provided their views and engaged constructively throughout this Review.

The organisation will need time to consider the Review’s recommendations in detail and along with the Department. We will engage with our staff and stakeholders as part of this process and publicly communicate this plan as soon as we can.

We are determined to transform this organisation, building on its strengths and working in partnership with the Department and our stakeholders to build an ecosystem that delivers a growing economy that works for all.