ULSTER Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has been appointed as the Assembly Private Secretary (APS) to Department of Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy MLA.
Commenting following her promotion to the post she said, “I am humbled to be appointed to the position of APS to Regional Development Minister and Party colleague Danny Kennedy. I am honoured that our new Party Leader Mike Nesbitt MLA has appointed me to this position and look forward to working alongside the Minister and his officials and gaining experience of working inside a government Department.
“Whilst this role sits alongside my existing responsibilities as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Education Committee and indeed my position as UUP Agriculture Spokesperson, my prority always has and always will be to represent the everyday needs of my constituents.”
A UUP spokesperson said, “The recently created post of APS is a non-salaried position which provides political support to Executive Ministers within their departments and in the Assembly chamber. Mrs Dobson will shadow the DRD Minister and be briefed by Departmental officials on key issues, gaining the experience of working within government that can only be gained by working alongside departmental officials.
“The concept of the APS follows Westminster’s example, where a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) assists a minister from the backbenches.”