Outgoing victims’ commissioner Kathryn Stone is to help choose her successor, it has emerged.
Ms Stone, who in April announced that she was quitting the post for a new job in England, will be one of four people who will interview those applying for the £67,948 job.
The others on the panel are a representative of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), an unnamed independent assessor and Carrickfergus Borough Council chief executive Sheila McClelland, who has been described as a “veteran political fixer”.
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, who was a victims’ commissioner before entering politics, said: “It is extraordinary that the former commissioner has a central role in appointing her successor. We still do not know why Ms Stone resigned so it is hard to know what qualities or priorities she thinks are important.
“And the requirement that the next commissioner has experience as a mental health practitioner using only newly introduced criteria suggests that many worthy contenders will be ruled out.”
Mr Nesbitt said that the fact the victims’ quango had gone through five commissioners in as many years and the separate Victims and Survivors Service is in turmoil suggests that “OFMDFM is failing victims”.
In a statement, OFMDFM said that its minister are “committed to ensuring the needs of victims and survivors are recognised and met” and added: “It is quite appropriate for the former commissioner to be involved, as she brings experience and knowledge of the needs of victims and survivors to the recruitment process.”