The Orange Order is seeking to appoint its first-ever chief executive as the organisation attempts to professionalise and modernise its operations.
The £42,000 a year position – which is only open to members of the Orange Order – is part of a strategy to make the Protestant religious and cultural body “more professional”.
In recent years the Order – which has had long-standing problems with its public image – has taken on a full-time press officer and has also opened two new museums of Orange culture.
Orange Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said that the decision to create the position came out of a review of the Institution’s headquarters.
He said that prior to the creation of the chief executive position the lead role within its headquarters was undertaken by the director of services.
In December, the man who had been the Order’s director of services for more than a decade, David Hume, accepted a redundancy package after the role was axed.
Mr Nelson said that the new position was a “completely different post” to that which had been done away with.
“We hope that we’ll be a more dynamic organisation; more proactive rather than reactive,” he said.
“I suppose in a sense we are seeking to influence and stay relevant in a different way than we’ve previously done.”
Mr Nelson – who ruled himself out of the running for the new position – said that he wanted to ensure that “the institution stays relevant”.
“I’ve seen over my lifetime how some organisations have become irrelevant and have faded,” he warned.
The new individual will be responsible for 10 full-time staff who largely serve members of the Order’s more than 1,100 private lodges, and will also be a spokesperson for the Order.
The new chief executive will be responsible for “leading the development and execution of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s long-term strategy” and will be accountable to its senior management team.
One of the individual’s first tasks will be to assess the main risks facing the Order and to create a “risk register” from which they will be expected to “monitor and manage” those risks.
They will also be asked “to take the lead in horizon scanning on behalf of the organisation”.
Only Orange Order members need apply
Although the post has been publicly advertised, the Order said that the post was only open to its own members.
The Institution said that it was restricting access to the post as membership of the Order was a “genuine occupational requirement in accordance with the Fair Employment and Treatment Order (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015”.
The post is also only open to those who have a university degree or comparable academic qualifications.