Public Accountability within PPANI

What are Lay Advisers?

Article 51(2) of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 allows the Department of Justice to appoint two Lay Advisers to the PPANI Strategic Management Board. The Lay Advisers role is to provide a challenge to the professionals by acting as a ‘critical friend’. They bring to the oversight function their understanding and perspective of public protection issues away from the professional viewpoint.  Their activities include:

  • Attending Strategic Management Board meetings
  • Contribute to the monitoring and evaluation of the operation of PPANI
  • Attending LAPPP meetings
  • Attending the subgroups of the SMB
  • Participating in media communications and education awareness alongside the communications subgroup.


Helen Parks

I am a teacher by profession and spent almost 30 years in the classroom teaching History, until moving into a different position in the education sector. My love for History and Politics remains as strong as ever. I volunteer with the European Lung Foundation and currently sit on their council promoting healthy lungs for life and ensuring the patient voice is heard. I also am a lay adviser with the Royal College of GPs(NI). In my free time I enjoy travelling with my husband and for relaxation I love to spend time with my 3 year old Show Cocker Spaniel who is a great therapy dog and a super sniffer! 





Brenda O Gara

I qualified as a Solicitor in 2006, and work in private practice specialising in all areas of family law. I am a member of the Law Society’s Children’s Order Panel and a Solicitor for the Children’sCourt Guardian Agency for NI representing children in public law proceedings.  I sit on the Board of Governors in the local primary school, and volunteer with the Home School Association organising events throughout the year to raise funds. There’s not much free time juggling busy family life, but I try to squeeze in some running with my local club when I can.  




The website will provide detailed information and an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about these arrangements

About Public Accountability within PPANI

PPANI SMB invited BBC NI to a “behind the scences” of the working of Public Protection Arrangements to help inform the public of the arrangements in practice.

Annual Reports

The Strategic Management Board (SMB) has a statutory function to prepare and publish an Annual Report of the public protection arrangements in Northern Ireland (PPANI)  This report provides the public with an overview of how the arrangements have operated in the previous year, and any significant changes to the arrangements.  The Annual Report addresses the PPANI SMB Business Plan and how the objectives were met.

The latest Annual Report is available to download

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