The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has responsibility for food, farming, environmental, fisheries, forestry and sustainability policy and the development of the rural sector in Northern Ireland.  The Department assists the sustainable development of the agri-food, environmental, fishing and forestry sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, having regard for the needs of the consumers, the protection of human, animal and plant health, the welfare of animals and the conservation and enhancement of the environment.

DAERA provides a business development service for farmers and growers and a veterinary service for administration of animal health and welfare. The Department’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) delivers training and further and higher education courses in the agri-food sector.  

DAERA is responsible to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Great Britain for the administration of schemes affecting the whole of the United Kingdom.  

DAERA has two Executive Agencies:

  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • Forest Service

The Department also sponsors a number of NDPBs including the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the Livestock Meat Commission (LMC), and the NI Fisheries Harbour Authority (NIFHA).

Katrina Godfrey Chair

Why DAERA is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

The DAERA Departmental Board has hosted an apprectice for the last two year and has welcomed the opportunity to bring fresh eyes, experience and challenge to our own proceedings.  As a public sector organisation, taking part in the programme offers us the opportunity to gain a private or Third sector perspective on our business.  To date this has resulted in learning points for our Members and organisation.  

For the potential Apprentice, we would offer the opportunity to take part in public sector discussions which can be considered as taking place behind closed doors and which often receive limited publicity, making them seem less transparent.  

We are a large Government Department with a wide remit, covering agriculture, fisheries, environment, forestry, rural affairs and beyond, and engaged with a large variety of stakeholders.  We provide a variety of supports to industry, and also provide an educational facility developing the agricultural and industry leaders of the future.  We are also responsible for a number of Arms Length Bodies, adding a further governance dimension to the work of the DAERA Departmental Board, providing further areas of interest.

Having an apprentice affords us the opportunity to increase public awareness of this diversity within our Department and raise the profile of the impact we have on every person living in Northern Ireland.  

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

During the covid pandemic the Board continued to meet using online Webex meetings.

However, face to face meetings have been reinstated in line with the continuing regulations. 

Pre-pandemic, meetings were held at various DAERA locations across Northern Ireland, reflecting the diversity of our remit.  

There are currently 8 Departmental Board committees – again the majority of these continue to meet remotely, but hope to resume meeting in each of the DAERA HQ locations (Ballykelly, Dundonald House & Klondyke).

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

DAERA’s Departmental Board meets on a monthly basis, at least 10 times a year.  

Meetings are usually held on the 2nd last Wednesday of the month between 10am and 1pm.  

The frequency of Committee meetings differs for each committee: e.g. Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) meets at least 6 times a year; the Resourcing and People Committee meets every 2 months; a number of other committees meet quarterly.  Each meeting lasts for half a day.

Date of Board Meetings (September 2022 – August 2023)

Confirmed dates for 2022-

21 September

19 October

23 November

14 December

Unconfirmed dates for 2023 subject to change 

18 January

15 February

22 March

19 April

24 May

21 June

19 July

23 August

Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (September 2022 – August 2023)

Not yet known