About DfI - Permanent Secretary, Julie Harrison

Part of: DfI management and structure

Julie Harrison was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) with effect from 1 April 2022.


Julie Harrison - DfI Permanent Secretary The Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure is the Minister's principal adviser across the full range of their Ministerial responsibilities.

In terms of the Department's corporate governance arrangements the Permanent Secretary acts as Head of Department and chair of the Departmental Board, as well as being the Accounting Officer.

Career history

Julie was appointed as Permanent Secretary in DfI on 1 April 2022.  Her career history is in research and policy analysis, facilitation, social inclusion strategies, grant making, EU Special Support programmes and urban regeneration.  In a variety of policy, funding and advisory roles, she has worked with local and central government, independent funders and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to support social change. In 2015, Julie was appointed as Strategic Advisor by the Strategic Investment Board to support delivery of large scale or complex projects and programmes and advise Departments and the NI Executive. She has previously served as Northern Ireland Chair and UK Board Member of the National Lottery Community Fund, a Director of the Building Change Trust and co-optee to the Northern Ireland Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

In 2020 she joined the NICS as a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Justice. In that role, she was responsible for a broad range of policy and delivery including Policing, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Crime, Hate Crime, and tackling criminality and organised crime.

The Department

The Department for Infrastructure is made up of approximately 3,000 people who are industrial, professional and technical staff, engineers, planners, policy makers and administrators. DfI industrial and technical staff design, build, maintain and repair roads, bridges and street lights. They also work to ensure that flood risks are mitigated where possible and water courses are managed. Much of this effort takes place outside offices and outside office hours. Many of our teams work anti-social hours in very difficult conditions when necessary; to grit roads; to deal with the aftermath of storms, flooding and fallen trees; and to ensure the enforcement of driver and vehicle licensing laws in the interests of public safety. Under the direction and control of the Minister for Infrastructure we also develop policy options for Ministerial consideration. This includes delivering a long-term water strategy, supporting shifts to more sustainable forms of transport, increasing the efficiency of our key economic corridors and addressing the climate crisis.

Departmental Board

The Departmental Board exists to lead the Department's strategic planning and assist the Permanent Secretary in meeting corporate governance responsibilities for the Department.  

The Board provides corporate leadership to the organisation as a whole, takes ownership of the Department's performance, provides support for the Head of Department and provides advice to the Minister.

The key aspects of the Board's role include:

  • taking forward the Department's agreed strategic aims
  • advising on the allocation of its financial and human resources to achieve those aims
  • managing departmental resources and monitoring the achievement of performance objectives
  • setting the Department's standards and values
  • maintaining a transparent system of prudent and effective controls;
  • assessing and managing risk
  • leading and overseeing the process of change and encouraging innovation, to enhance the Department's capability to deliver


The Permanent Secretary's Registers for Gifts and Hospitality and Expenses claims are available at:

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