The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today launched a competition to appoint seven members to its new bovine TB body; the Tuberculosis Eradication Partnership.

The body – dubbed ‘TBEP’ – will include two farming representatives and will come into effect from April 1, 2018.

In addition, three sub-regional boards are being proposed which will be involved in the operational planning of the TB programme and ad-hoc local disease response teams – which will be set up in the event of severe bovine TB outbreaks.

Advisory roles

Northern Ireland’s chief vet Robert Huey explained the remit of the new body would include giving advice to the chief veterinary officer and DAERA policy makers.

Members should also be prepared to give evidence to the NI Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee (AERA Committee) as required.

The role will also involve formally reviewing the TB Eradication Strategy every five years.

They will also have detailed oversight of the operational aspects of the TB programme and Regional Eradication Partnerships (REPs) for their area.

TBEP will comprise of a chairman and six members. Remuneration for the TBEP chairman will be paid at a daily rate of £350, while members will receive a daily rate of £250.

This is payable for attendance at TBEP meetings, meetings of sub-groups of the TBEP and meetings with the DAERA board only and includes travel time and preparation time.

Applications will be based on merit, with department officials making the final call on who will be appointed.

Huey said: “The TBEP will be a DAERA-sponsored expert advisory body. Given the range of positions to be filled and the need to achieve a balance of skills and backgrounds represented on the new partnership; the department has identified a need for members with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences relevant to driving forward the eradication of bovine TB in Northern Ireland.”

These include:

  • A chairman with proven leadership and inter-personal skills to undertake this role;
  • Two representatives of the Northern Ireland farming community;
  • A representative of the Northern Ireland processing sector;
  • A representative of nature conservation issues;
  • A person with a recognised qualification and experience as a veterinarian delivering services to the farming industry in Northern Ireland;
  • A person with an appropriate scientific background relevant to bovine TB.

A diverse panel

Huey said DAERA wished to see a pool of applicants that reflected the diversity of Northern Ireland’s communities.

He added that he “strongly encouraged everyone with the relevant skills and experience” to consider applying for the position of partnership chairman, partnership member – or both – as outlined in the candidate information booklet and application form.

In particular, the department would welcome applications from women, as they are currently under-represented on public bodies in Northern Ireland.

Full details of the role and remit of the TBEP, including information about the skills and experience required, remuneration are outlined in a candidate information booklet available online, along with an application form.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 2:00pm on Friday, January 26, 2018.

A consultation on a new bovine TB Eradication Strategy was launched on November 30, 2017, and runs until February 1, 2018. Responses can be made online.