Appointments to the Statistical Advisory Committee

Date published: 09 January 2020

The Department of Finance has appointed Mr Edgar Jardine as Chair of the Department’s Statistical Advisory Committee (SAC) and Dr Anathasia Xenaki and Dr Danielle Blaylock as new Committee members.

Statistical Advisory Committee

The appointments are for a five-year term commencing on 9 March 2020.

The following existing Committee members have been reappointed for a second term: Prof. Derek Bond, Mr John Compton, Mrs Sharon McNicholl, Dr Chris Morris, Dr Kieran Payne, Mr Richard Ramsey and Dr Bernie Stuart.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Statistics Advisory Committee (SAC) is an advisory body of the Department of Finance, established under the Statistics of Trade and Employment (NI) Order 1988. SAC’s function is to advise NISRA and Northern Ireland Departments on matters relating to the collection and disclosure of statistical information from businesses under the Statistics of Trade and Employment (NI) Order 1988; and to advise on statistical issues such as quality assurance, official statistics, and other similar matters referred to it by Departments.
  2. The appointments are for a five-year term and members are restricted to two terms. Appointments to SAC are on a non-remunerated basis.
  3. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. None of the appointees has declared political activity in the past ten years.
  4. The appointments process has been regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointment (OCPA) and all stages of the process were overseen by an independent panel member.
  5. All media queries to Department of Finance Press Office on 028 9081 6724. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.
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Biographical details:

Mr Edgar Jardine
Mr Jardine is a former Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and has served at senior level in the former Office of the First Minister and Deputy first Minister and in the former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and as Interim Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Policing Board. Since retirement from the Northern Ireland Civil Service he has served as a member of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland from 2012 to 2018 and is currently Vice Chair of the Governing Body of Stranmillis University College and a member of the Education Authority where he is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. Mr Jardine also serves as an Education Authority representative on the Board of Governors of Dundonald High School.

Dr Anathasia Xenaki
Dr Xenaki was an economist and official statistician with the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) for 40 years rising to the post of Director General of Statistical Surveys and latterly as acting President of ELSTAT in 2015/16. During her career she made a significant contribution to regaining public trust in official Statistics of Greece and the establishment of the Independent Authority of Greek Official Statistics, successfully realising the Housing and Statistical 2011 Censuses in Greece, in full compliance with the European and international methodology. In parallel with her duties in ELSTAT, she has been a seconded expert to the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht and a part time lecturer in the Aegean University-Chios Island, on macroeconomics and econometrics. For the last three years she has been an honorary Director General of ELSTAT and works in the private sector as a consultant in the tourism sector.

Dr Danielle Blaylock
Dr Blaylock is a lecturer in Applied Social Psychology in the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations within the School of Psychology at Queen’s University. She earned her degree in Psychology at the University of Maine and her Masters and PhD in Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. Her research focuses on intergroup relations, intergroup conflict, and social change. She has 15 years of experience within academia conducting programme evaluations and co-producing academic research, the majority of which have specifically focused on issues of identity and intergroup relations in Northern Ireland. She works closely with charities, educators, and government developing, evaluating, and disseminating effective programmes to promote more positive intergroup relations. She currently leads the team evaluating the PEACE IV Specific Objective 2.1 Children and Young People.

Prof. Derek Bond
Professor Bond is a Chartered Statistician and elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He is currently an independent adviser in statistics, econometrics and regional development and is emphasis editor in Management and Strategy of the Statistical Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics. During his career he gained wide international experience of the issues surrounding the successful development of official statistics. He has worked with the UN Statistics Division, EuroStat and many national, regional and urban statistics offices. He is a former President of the International Statistical Institute’s Standing Committee on Regional and Urban Research and Statistics, and a former Vice President of the International Association for Official Statistics.

Mr John Compton
Mr Compton is Deputy Head of UK Media Relations with PwC and until recently was PwCs Head of UK Regional Communications. During his career he has been an advisor to public and private sector organisations and has been involved in managing and interpreting the statistical and economic implications of high-profile international and national economic and consumer surveys. He is past vice-president of the Institute of Management Consulting and was a founder member of the Market Research Society in Northern Ireland and of the Marketing Institute of Ireland. As an award winning business and economic journalist, he has written for national newspapers and magazines and presented business and current affairs programmes for UK and overseas broadcast outlets.

Mrs Sharon McNicholl
Mrs McNicholl, an economist by training, has worked in management positions in Belfast City Council for nearly 20 years, and was the Corporate Planning and Strategic Policy Manager in the Chief Executive’s Department. She is currently the Strategic Director of Performance in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Mrs McNicholl brings to the Committee extensive experience of quantitative and qualitative analysis across a range of data sources and a wealth of public sector experience.

Dr Chris Morris
Dr Morris moved to Belfast from Manchester in 1971 working first in Queen’s University and then as a statistician in the Northern Ireland Civil Service until 2019). During this time he worked with economic and social statistics including GDP, demography, urban classification and measurement of deprivation. Since retirement, he has done research consultancy on access-related deprivation, fuel poverty and excess winter mortality, and is currently engaged in a PhD with Trinity College Dublin.

Dr Kieran Payne
Dr Payne has over 8 years’ experience working in Credit Risk Modelling at RBS. He is a strong technical manager leading a team of analysts and managers in the development of Regulatory Compliant Credit Risk Models. This involves regular interaction with UK and European regulators, and he has been involved in many bank inspections. Dr Payne brings a strong understanding of statistical methodologies, is an expert in banking regulation (capital requirements) and enthusiastic adopter of new modelling technologies. Dr Payne holds a PhD in Statistics from Queens University Belfast and currently holds no other public appointments.

Mr Richard Ramsey
Mr Ramsey is the chief economist in the Ulster Bank, Northern Ireland. He is a respected commentator on economic matters in Northern Ireland. He previously worked in Economics Division as economist in the Department of Trade and Investment, Invest NI and the Department of Finance and Personnel. Mr Ramsey brings a strong knowledge of economic and financial market analysis and strong communications skills to the Statistics Advisory Committee. He is also a leading economic commentator in the local media on economic statistics matter and is currently a member of Queen’s Management School International Advisory Board.

Dr Bernie Stuart
Dr Stuart is currently a Non-Executive Board Member and member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. She is a retired Senior Civil Servant and prior to retirement, her most recent roles were: leading the work to set up a centralised HR Service for the Northern Ireland Civil Service; leading the newly formed Public Sector Reform Division in Department of Finance, including development of the NI Innovation Lab; and Investment Director in the Department of Health. She previously worked as a statistician in the Department of Agriculture and brings extensive experience of dealing with statistical data, leadership, and change management.


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