The Commission was established in May 2008. We were formed under the Victims and Survivors Act (Northern Ireland) 2008, which amended the earlier Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
We are a Non-departmental Public Body (NDPB) of The Executive Office. This means we are an extension of our devolved government, but are largely independent.
Our purpose is to contribute to the broader reconciliation of Northern Ireland’s society by giving voice to those most impacted by the legacy of its past.
Vision, Mission and Values
Victims and survivors are remembered and empowered to shape a future where their voices are heard, and their needs met within a reconciled society.
We will contribute to reconciliation by ensuring victims and survivors’ needs are met, their voices heard and that learning from their experiences contributes to lasting peace for generations to come.
Victim-centred – We put victims and survivors at the centre of all we do.
Open and transparent – We are open, honest, accountable and responsive.
Equality and diversity – We treat everyone equally, with integrity and respect.
Impartial – We are independent and maintain a critical distance to challenge Government and relevant authorities
Quality – We deliver our work to a high standard.
Meet the Team
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Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive, Andrew is responsible for managing the performance of the organisation, ensuring good governance, and looking after its operational needs.
Through his direction he steers the team in a highly sensitive political environment, and he always brings every decision back to the Commission’s vision – to improve the lives of all victims and survivors of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
This, he believes, helps deliver one of the many small, incremental changes that Northern Ireland needs to build for the future.
Throughout his time at the Commission, Andrew has been inspired by the passion his team has to make a difference in victims and survivors’ lives. Most significantly, he highlights their work to advise and influence the Victim’s Payment Scheme, which has now become law.
He says: “The payment scheme will help make life a bit easier for victims and survivors, especially for those who have suffered disabilities that they are now carrying with them into old age.”
Andrew joined the Commission in October 2018 as interim Chief Executive and was formally appointed to the position in January 2019.
He brings with him a wealth of experience in leading organisations and setting corporate direction.
A trained accountant, he began his career in London, working with an international chartered accountancy practice. He then spent seven years working in the charity sector where he managed an organisation running youth and community centres in inner city areas of London.
After returning to Northern Ireland, Andrew became Director of Corporate Services at the Rural Development Council, then spent 15 years as Director of Finance and Resources with Sport Northern Ireland. Before joining the Commission, he was Head of Finance and Resources at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.
To relax, Andrew enjoys spending time with his family in Banbridge, flying light aeroplanes and hosting a Sunday morning request show on his local community radio station.
Director of Research, Policy Development & Engagement
Deborah joined the Commission in June 2022.
Her role is to lead the Research, Policy Development and Engagement team, with responsibility for ensuring the development and delivery of a comprehensive research, policy and engagement programme of work.
This includes ensuring that the Commissioner is briefed on emerging and longstanding issues, and engaging with the victims and survivors sector, and more broadly, to contribute to the discharge of the Commissioner’s duties.
Head of Communications & PR
Alana first started with the Commission in September 2013 growing her knowledge and awareness of victims’ issues as a Policy Support Officer.
She left to take up a post in London-based charity, Anthony Nolan, before returning to the Commission in 2017.
Alana leads the Communications and Public Relations function of the Commission’s work, ensuring communications touchpoints are updated with relevant information, and handles the media and PR activity of the Commissioner.
Head of Finance & Corporate Affairs
Stephen has an LLB degree in Law & Accounting from Queens University, Belfast and is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants of Ireland. He started with the Commission in September 2019 having previously worked as a Director / Public sector Accountant with a Belfast based professional services company.
His current role is Head of Finance and Corporate Affairs which involves working closely with the Chief Executive as part of the Senior Management Team (SMT).
His work includes providing support and advice to the Commission on Strategic & Operational Management, Financial Management, Governance & Accountability, ICT and People Practices (HR).
Corporate Affairs Manager
Marie joined the Commission in January 2011. She is responsible for assisting in the development and maintenance of financial systems, premises and contracts management, health & safety and the monitoring and maintenance of assets.
As part of the Corporate Services Team, she helps to ensure the organisation maintains the highest standards of corporate governance and accountability.
Dr Neil Foster
As Research Officer, Neil’s primary role is to support the planning and implementation of the Commission’s Policy and Research Strategy.
This has involved the effective management of a comprehensive PEACE IV funded Victims and Survivors Research Programme (2017-2022) and working closely with colleagues in the development of a new set of research studies under the PEACE Plus programme.
As part of the Research, Policy Development and Engagement Team, he is responsible for preparing and presenting research reports and briefing papers to both internal and external audiences on a range of issues affecting victims and survivors.
This also includes extensive stakeholder engagement including consulting closely with members of the Victims and Survivors Forum.
Neil has worked closely with six Commissioners and during this time has made a significant contribution to the development of research informed policy advice to Government across many different areas including the Victims’ Payment Scheme and the Strategy for Victims and Survivors.
Executive Assistant and Communications Officer
Eleanor joined the Commission in 2023 after graduating with a masters degree in Arts and Humanities Research.
Her role involves organising events, maintaining the Commission’s website and social media, supporting the Victims and Survivors Forum and assisting in the delivery of the Communications Strategy.
Eleanor is also responsible for managing the diaries of the Commissioner and Chief Executive and preparing briefing materials for their meetings. As a central point within the team, she coordinates the operational activity across the Commission.