Statement: Independent Review of Invest Northern Ireland

Date published: 11 January 2023

The report on the Independent Review of Invest Northern Ireland has been published today.

Independent Review of NI
Independent Review of NI

The Review was undertaken by an Independent Panel at the instigation of Gordon Lyons MLA, former Minister for the Economy.

The objective of the Independent Review is “to provide an independent assessment of Invest NI’s efficiency and effectiveness and, looking forward, its capacity to strategically align with and operationally deliver the 10X Economic Vision”.

The Independent Panel collected evidence from a wide range of key stakeholders and also commissioned external technical expertise to assess the effectiveness of Invest NI.

The key findings of the Review Panel include the following:-

  • Northern Ireland needs an economic development agency and Invest NI is best placed to continue to take forward this work;
  • Profound change is needed that requires reform and repurposing;
  • The agency is having limited impact on productivity;
  • There is considerable room for improvement in leadership, structure, operation, control and public accountability of the agency;
  • Stronger governance and oversight is required from DfE and better strategic and policy direction needs to be provided;
  • Strengthening public understanding of Invest NI work and how it uses public monies is crucial; and
  • The agency needs to be a better partner, particularly in the sub-regional context.

The Department acknowledges that the Review presents challenges for DfE and is determined to act quickly on these. 

The Department will now immediately work with Invest NI to develop an action plan to address the review recommendations.  Immediate decisive action is needed to address the profound challenges at Invest NI outlined in the Review Panel’s report to achieve the step change set out in the Department’s ‘10x Economy’ vision.

A first step will be that the Department will urgently meet with the Board of Invest NI to discuss the report in detail.

In addition, the Department will immediately assess the need for profound change within Invest NI to address the Report’s concerns about leadership, structure, operation, control and public accountability.

The Department would like to thank Sir Michael Lyons, Dame Rotha Johnston DBE and Maureen O’Reilly for their thorough report and detailed recommendations. The Department is also grateful to the many stakeholders who contributed to the work of the Review.

A copy of the report on the Independent Review of Invest Northern Ireland can be found at Independent Review of Invest Northern Ireland

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Review panel comprised its chair Sir Michael Lyons, Dame Rotha Johnston DBE and Maureen O’Reilly.
  2. The Department's 10X Economic Vision is available at: 10X Economy - an Economic Vision for a decade of innovation
  3. The Independent Review Panel can be contacted directly at:  
  4. For media enquiries for DfE please contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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