RQIA Officials: Subsequent Employment

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 1st February 2021.

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Photo of John Blair John Blair Alliance 3:15 pm, 1st February 2021

T5. Mr Blair asked the Minister of Health to comment on the issue of recently resigned RQIA officials who have taken up posts with private care home providers, some of which have recorded high numbers of COVID incidents and deaths and on which those same officials may have written reports. (AQT 935/17-22)

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP

I am unwilling to comment on any specific individual who sought employment after leaving the employment of the RQIA. It is not an area that I want to get into in the Chamber.

Photo of John Blair John Blair Alliance

I thank the Minister for the answer. More broadly, then, does the Minister agree that there should be strict governance structures, perhaps even a stipulated time lapse between a public servant leaving the role of inspector and moving to a related business area in the private sector?

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP

Again, I have not previously considered that. It has not been in my train of thought or come across my desk. We are looking into how care homes and what they provide are being regulated. If it comes up in the discussions or is brought forward in the review of regulations or the decision-making process, I will certainly take cognisance of it. I am not currently working on that.