Agency structure

The vision and objectives of the Labour Relations Agency are determined by a Board consisting of a Chair and nine members who are appointed by the Department for the Economy (DfE). Staff are direct employees of the Agency.  They receive continuous training and development on changes in employment legislation and employment relations practice and procedures.

Board

Members are appointed on the basis of their knowledge and experience in employment relations.  The Board normally comprises members from employer bodies, trade unions or those with an academic or employment law background.

Currently our Board members are:

  • Gordon Milligan – Chair
  • Clare Duffield
  • Daire Murphy
  • Deirdre Fitzpatrick
  • Geraldine Alexander
  • Jill Minne
  • Kevin McCabe
  • Lee Wilson
  • Louise Crilly
  • Michelle McGinley

Labour Relations Agency

 

Length of each term of appointment

Chair – 3 years
9 Members – 3 years

Remuneration
(per annum)

Chair - £25,234 per annum
Members - £5,424 per annum

Workload

Chair – Two days per week
Members – There are 10 Board meetings per year; two sub-committees each meet four times per year

 

Name

Date of First Appointment

Expiry of Appointment

Chair

 

 

Gordon Milligan

01 May 2021

30 April 2024

Members

 

 

Deirdre Fitzpatrick

01 Dec 2014 31 March 2023
     

Jill Minne

01 Dec 2014

 

31 March 2023
     

Daire Murphy

01 Dec 2014 31 March 2023

Louise Crilly

16 Nov 2015 31 March 2023

Michelle McGinley

16 Nov 2015 31 March 2023

Clare Duffield

01 May 2021 30 April 2024

Geraldine Alexander

01 May 2021 30 April 2024

Kevin McCabe

01 May 2021 30 April 2024

Lee Wilson

01 May 2021 30 April 2024

 

 

  • Gordon Milligan

    Gordon Milligan

    Gordon has extensive business experience including human resources and employee relations spanning over 30 years.   Before joining Translink his previous experience included senior positions in large Global organisations including Bombardier Aerospace, Nortel and Dunbia.  Gordon is Chair of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Northern Ireland and is a visiting professor at the Ulster University Business School. He also serves as a member of the Northern Ireland Employment Relations roundtable and the Northern Ireland engagement forum.  He has an MBA, is a Fellow of Institute of Directors (IoD) and a Chartered Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD). 
  • Jill Minne

    Jill Minne

    Jill Minne is Strategic HR Director for the Civil Service.  She is responsible for the development and implementation of its People Strategy and leads the centralised HR function that provides services and strategic advice to all of the Northern Ireland Government Departments.    She has worked in organisational development, human resources and diversity and inclusion for around 30 years, including over two decades with Belfast City Council.    Jill is joint Diversity Champion in the Civil Service and is a board member of the Women’s Fund Northern Ireland
  • Deirdre Fitzpatrick

    Deirdre Fitzpatrick

    Mrs Fitzpatrick was appointed as an Independent Member to the Board. She runs her own management consultancy practice working across the public, private, and voluntary sectors, and is very active in training and consultancy work with Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Deirdre started her career in the Ulster Business School, then set up Northern Ireland's first Business Incubation Centre. Deirdre is a former Board member of the Gerry Rogan Initiative Trust and of the Northern Ireland Consumer Council, and was a member of their Audit Committee.
  • Daire Murphy

    Daire Murphy

    Mr Murphy is an Employee Representative and a Regional Casework Official with the NASUWT, The Teachers' Union. He has previously worked in the voluntary sector, as an Employment Legal Adviser at the Law Centre (NI), representing workers and employees, and as a barrister in general practice. Daire is an accredited Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) Employment and Workplace Mediator.
  • Louise Crilly

    Louise Crilly

    Ms Crilly, appointed as an Independent Member to the Board, is a practising lawyer with over 20 years’ experience of legal practice in both the private and public sectors in Northern Ireland.  Louise is Director of EU Law and Civil Law Reform for the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
  • Michelle McGinley

    Michelle McGinley

    Ms McGinley, appointed as an Employer Representative to the Board, is a qualified solicitor who works for Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), a not for profit organisation advising and supporting a wide range of businesses throughout Northern Ireland on employment matters.  In December 2019, Michelle was appointed as a Solicitor Member to the Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal.  Prior to joining EEF in 2003, Michelle worked in private practice in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland specialising in defence employment litigation.  Michelle also taught at a London Law School.  Michelle advises and represents a wide range of organisations before the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunals and is an accredited Solicitor Advocate and Mediator with the Law Society.
  • Clare Duffield

    Clare Duffield

    Clare is currently the Director of Human Resources and Legal Services at the Education Authority.  She is responsible for the leadership and management of HR services for a workforce of over 45 000 staff who work in schools and in providing services to schools.  Clare has experience from both the public and private sectors.  She was previously Director of HR & Organisational Development in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Head of Divisional Retail HR at B&Q plc.  Clare’s experience extends beyond HR and Organisational Development having also led projects in service delivery, corporate governance, customer and employee relations, business transformation, strategy and performance as well as corporate communications. Clare is a Chartered Member of the CIPD with a passion for leadership development, employee engagement, industrial relations and service improvement.  She has a keen and active interest in sport and is an appointed Independent Board Member of Athletics NI. 
  • Geraldine Alexander

    Geraldine Alexander

    Geraldine Alexander is a senior trade union official with the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance.  She has over 30 years’ experience representing the interests of members employed in the civil and public services, including the voluntary and community sector.  She is currently the strategic lead on policy in the key specialist areas of equality, human rights, social affairs, health and safety, LGB&T and youth matters.  A former Board Member and Deputy Chairperson of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.  Geraldine is currently the Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Committee, Irish Congress of Trade Unions Women’s Committee and Health and Safety Committee.   
  • Kevin McCabe

    Kevin McCabe

    Mr McCabe is a Trade Union Official and activist with over 35 years’ experience and knowledge of working in the Public Sector.  An Assistant Secretary working for the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance he served 18 years in the Health and Social Care sector and was a lead Trade Union Side Secretary who oversaw the Review of Public Administration, the implementation of the Agenda For Change Job Evaluation Scheme and significant Organisational Change and Reviews.  He also had responsibility for the Voluntary and Community Sector and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.  He previously and now has responsibility for some Northern Ireland Civil Service Departments and his present remit covers Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Department for Economy (DFE), Department of Education (DE) Department of Health (DOH).  Mr McCabe was a former Commissioner on the Fair Employment Commission and served on the Health and Social Care (HSC) Pension Advisory Board and the Health and Social Care (HSC) Trustee Pension Board. 
  • Lee Wilson

    Lee Wilson

    Lee brings over 20 years’ experience in Health Service Finance to the role, and was previously a Board and Audit committee Member of the consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

    He is currently a Board and Audit Committee Member of the NI Medical and Dental Training Agency, NI Social Care Council and NI Guardian ad Litem Agency. He also Chairs the Governance and Risk Committee in NIMDTA.

    Academically Lee has completed a BA Hons in Business Studies, an MA in Administration and Law and a PG Diploma in Social and Community Development. 

Staff

Staff are direct employees of the Agency.  They receive continuous training and development on changes in employment legislation and employment relations practice and procedures.  Most staff are based in the Agency’s Head Office in Belfast, with a small team in the Agency’s Regional Office in Derry/Londonderry.

Senior Leadership Team

The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is made up of the Chief Executive, the Director of Employment Relations Services and the Director Corporate Services.

  • Don Leeson, Chief Executive

    Don Leeson, Chief Executive

    Don Leeson took up post as the Labour Relations Agency’s Chief Executive on 1 December 2020, having been its Director of Corporate Services since March 2017.  He earlier worked as a senior manager at the Agency between 2011 and 2013, managing the Agency’s arbitration services and facilitating collective conciliations and mediations.

    Outside of the Agency, Don has had a varied career.  He was the Consumer Council’s Director of Operations (2013-17); Head of Corporate Services for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (2004-11); and the Equality Commission’s Head of Disability Policy (2002-04).

    Prior to moving to Belfast, Don was Investors in People UK’s Quality Manager, with responsibility for quality assurance and development of the IiP standard.  It was while in this role he developed a passion for organisational development and good employment practice. 

    Don has also been a Civil Servant working in Westminster on employment-related issues.

    He has an MSc in Managing Change and is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD.

    Don is the Chair of the boards of two charities: ESC Films, an award winning film therapy organisation working with highly marginalised people; and the Imagine Festival of Ideas and Politics.

    He is a keen traveller and an avid follower of football, well Grimsby Town at least!

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    Mark McAllister, Director of Employment Relations Services

    Mark has been with the Labour Relations Agency for 20 years working in all frontline services as well as the corporate services side of the organisation.  Mark was appointed Director of Employment Relations Services in May 2019.

    Prior to joining the Agency Mark was a legal academic and a regional trade union negotiator in the further and higher education sector from 1995 – 2000.  He is an experienced mediator, author and contributor to employment law publications and a regular speaker on the employment law circuit in Northern Ireland.

    Mark has worked in a variety of voluntary capacities such as community mediation and is a former Chair of Community Restorative Justice Ireland.  In addition, Mark has held the post of Northern Ireland Convenor of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Chair of the Governance Institute (NI) Branch.

    Mark has a variety of formal academic qualifications including a Master’s Degree in Law and Public Administration.  He is a member of CiARB and a Fellow of the Governance Institute (ICSA) as well as holding memberships in the Employment Lawyers Group (NI) and the Industrial Law Society.

    Mark is a member of the GAA and his beloved club Kilclief Ben Dearg (the most visually spectacular club in Ireland on the coast of Strangford Lough) and he is a keen Irish rugby fan.  He is steeped in industrial and employment relations and has retained his passion for making work better for all since he started employment many years ago.

     

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    Paul Lowe, Director Corporate Services

    Paul Lowe took up post as the Labour Relations Agency’s Director of Corporate Services on 1 December 2020, having joined the Agency in 2018 as a senior manager.

    Paul is an accomplished management professional who is highly experienced in Corporate Services, Human Resources, Organisational Development, Talent Management and Learning & Development.  He is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development and maintains a strong commitment to his Continuous Professional Development.

    In 2017 he led his team to success in being recognised as the CIPD NI HR team of the Year and delivering the Best Talent Management Programme.

    He is highly experienced in leading, inspiring and motivating teams through change programmes and in pursuit of objectives.  He possesses substantial people and communication skills with an eye for business improvement, as well as being performance and outcomes-focussed, with a strong public service ethos.

    Outside of the Agency Paul enjoys long walks, reading, following sport particularly his beloved Manchester United, and is a keen amateur musician.