New Electoral Commissioner for Northern Ireland appointed

New Electoral Commissioner for Northern Ireland appointed

A new lead Commissioner for Northern Ireland has been approved by the House of Commons to serve on the Electoral Commission Board. Dr Katy Radford has been appointed to the role, which will begin on 1 September.

Dr Katy Radford is a social anthropologist who currently serves on the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and works at the Commission for Victims and Survivors. She recently completed terms as Vice Chair of the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, and as a Member of the Commission for Flags, Identity, Culture, and Tradition convened by The Executive Office. From 2011–2020, Katy was Acting Director of the Institute for Conflict Research. Katy was awarded an MBE in 2011 for her contribution to community relations in Northern Ireland.

The selection process for Commissioners is conducted by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission within the UK Parliament. As the UK Parliament has approved the motion to appoint Dr Katy Radford, the proposed appointment will now be submitted for royal assent by Her Majesty the Queen.

John Pullinger, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said:

“We are delighted that it is proposed that Dr Katy Radford will join us as the Commissioner for Northern Ireland and we look forward to the experience and insight she will bring. As a Commissioner she will play a key role in promoting public confidence in the democratic process and ensuring its integrity both in Northern Ireland and across the UK.”

Dr Katy Radford said: 

“The Electoral Commission is central to delivering trust and confidence in our democratic processes. I look forward to contributing to the important work the Commission does and to being a voice for the voters and campaigners across Northern Ireland in particular.”

The Commission Board comprises:

  • a Chair
  • four Commissioners nominated by political parties represented in the House of Commons
  • three Commissioners appointed as leads for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • two other Commissioners

Members of the Commission Board are required to declare any interests which may represent a conflict with their role at the Commission, and must also follow our published Code of Conduct.


For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or

Notes to editors

1. Dr Katy Radford’s appointment will take effect from 1 September 2021 for the period ending on 31 August 2025. 

2. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy
  • aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

3. The Commission reports to the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments.

4. The selection process for Commissioners is conducted by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission and is set out in law (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000). Section 5 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009, which inserted a new section 3A into PPERA, provides for four of the Electoral Commissioners to be persons put forward by the registered leader of a qualifying party for consideration for appointment.

5. Find out more about the Electoral Commission’s Board.