About DfI - Permanent Secretary, Peter May

Part of: DfI management and structure

DRD Permanent Secretary - Peter May

Peter May was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure with effect from 8 May 2016.


The Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure is the Minister's principal adviser across the full range of his 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.

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

Accounting Officer

As Accounting Officer, the Permanent Secretary is responsible for ensuring that:

  • the Departmental accounts are properly presented
  • correct financial procedures are followed and accounting records maintained
  • public funds are managed with propriety and duly safeguarded
  • departmental assets are controlled and safeguarded
  • all relevant financial considerations are taken into account, and brought to the Minister's attention, when considering policy proposals
  • a sound system of internal control is maintained in the Department to support the achievement of its policies and objectives
  • the impact of the Department's activities on others is properly identified and, where appropriate, taken into account
  • the Statement of Internal Control is accurate and appropriate

Career history

Peter joined the Civil Service in 1987 and has spent nearly all his career in Northern Ireland. He has performed a variety of roles including:

  • Principal Private Secretary to the Deputy First Minister (1999 to 2002)
  • Deputy Director, Strategy and European Affairs in the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (2002/03)
  • Business Transformation Director in the Water Service (2003 to 2007)

Peter then led the programme preparing for the devolution of justice and policing to the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly. From April 2010 to May 2013, Peter was Director, Safer Communities in the Department of Justice. Peter was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure on an interim basis in May 2013.  He was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Regional Development on 17 November 2014 – a post he held until the creation of the Department for Infrastructure on 8 May 2016.

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