Do you want to make a difference? Is the protection of the rights, safety and dignity of patients who are research subjects important to you? Are you interested in research which benefits patients and service users? If so, then we would welcome your involvement and support in the ORECNI service at BSO.

The Business Services Organisation (BSO) seeks to appoint to full membership:

  • At least 2 Lay persons (a lay member generally is a person who is not from the health or allied health care professions. On this occasion there is a need for lay people who have never worked in the HSC or NHS)
  • 2 Experts (persons from a wide range of health, health care and allied health care professions; persons with experience in clinical pharmacology or registered pharmacists; persons with professional qualifications or experience relating to the conduct of or use of statistics in clinical trials; persons with professional experience in social work or social care or psychology and scientists.

The BSO also seeks to appoint Deputy Lay or Deputy Expert members from the range of backgrounds described above.

Please find below information to help with your application.

Advert for Expert and Lay members 2019

HSC REC Guidance Notes for Candidates 2019

HSC REC Information Pack April 2019

HSC REC Nomination Form 2019

Probity Conflicts of Interest Booklet

My Story – Catherine

I have lived with mental health issues for nearly 20 years of my life and this has included depression, anxiety and unhealthy coping techniques. These issues developed as a child but were not picked up until 2012, when at 22 I was given a diagnosis and started treatment.

I like to use dark humour to cope, so a common joke I used was that I left university with a single honour in Film and TV studies and a joint in “Depression and Anxiety”. But at the end of my degree, any confidence I had in myself and my future was gone.

I had been living under the illusion of ‘wellness’ when in fact my unhealthy mindset, coping habits and perfectionism had led to a false confidence and – like a manor house built on crumbling foundations – it was going to fall eventually.

This worsened when I graduated. Finding employment in the real world is already competitive but it can feel hopeless for those living with a mental health condition and who cannot even big themselves up in the mirror, let alone at an interview. Every rejection and dismissal was “proof” that I was unemployable and not worthy of someone investing their time or training.

That changed when I applied for the Work Connect Scheme with Action Mental Health and the HSC Disability Placement Scheme and received a six month placement in the Health and Social Care Board. I then was successful in securing a place on the HSC Intern Scheme for 2016-17.
Initially, I was terrified that everyone would find out how useless I was. Instead, the people I worked with were patient, supportive and accommodated my mental health appointments. They even took the time to talk about mental health programmes they had seen on TV and it was so validating to hear someone say “I didn’t know how hard it was”.

I have received overwhelming support from an organisation of people telling me that I was worth this opportunity, their time and their investment. I still have “dark cloud” periods and often need to drive myself to keep getting up and work through it, and it’s reassuring when colleagues have to remind me to take breaks and proper time off to recharge and avoid burnout – I’m still a perfectionist.

I have also been given wonderful opportunities by the Equality team to speak at events for the Disability Placement Scheme and to share my mental health experiences. Being able to stand in a room with people facing similar issues is a wonderful thing. I’ve even attended and spoken of my experiences at HSCB and BSO Board meetings! It was lovely to hear that my story got a room full of board members to reflect on the struggles people with Mental Health issues are faced with every day, and to realise how much of an impact the Placement Scheme has for people with such issues.

Mental health issues may not be something we chose but it is our choice to live and improve our quality of life despite them. I successfully applied for a permanent post in the Business Services Team in BSO and started in in January 2018. For the first time in six years; I am no longer planning for recovery, but instead planning for the future.


My Story – Hazel

My name is Hazel and I have been deaf since birth. I joined BSO in April 2018 as a Human Resources Assistant. Before this I was a full time mum to 3 children for 14 years until they got to an age where I decided to try to return to work.

I approached Action on Hearing Loss at a job fair to ask questions and before I knew it I was enrolled into the HSC Regional Organisations’ Disability Placement Scheme. (Action on Hearing Loss are one of a number of disability organisations who are linked with to recruit to the Placement Scheme.) I was lucky to be placed in a very welcoming team in HSCB; the placement gave me 6 months of really good experience of an office environment. I then applied for a job on HSC recruit and was successful in getting onto the Band 3 waiting list. A short time later I was delighted to be offered my current post in BSO.

I manage everyday life by either lip-reading, writing things down if I don’t understand the person or British Sign Language (BSL), which is the easiest form of communication for me.

Finding work when you have a disability is a struggle. When people find out I cannot hear they think “Oh she’s deaf, how will she cope?”, but ask yourselves how I cope every day? There is such a stigma with Deafness; it’s a hidden disability and people seem to be afraid of trying other ways of communicating, which can exclude deaf people from all aspects of life.

When I started my new job, I had mixed feelings as I was returning to work full time after being a full time mum for 14 years. I worried people couldn’t cope with my disability, that I wouldn’t be understood and not understand others, especially my boss as he is the one who would be giving me work to do and how could I do it If I didn’t understand him?

The first week in my job I attended some meetings. I had an interpreter, which made it easier, but I have to be honest, I came out of it feeling such a failure, feeling inferior to everyone and feeling incredibly stupid. This was because I felt overwhelmed going into a full time job and feeling like I was being thrown in at the deep end. I had to overcome being out of work for 14 years, my deafness and my depression.
My confidence has grown since then as I have learned things and picked the job up more quickly than I ever imagined and my line manager is extremely supportive.

Something to bear in mind in large groups when there is a deaf person present, whether at a coffee get together or in a meeting, is to try to not talk over each other, as a deaf person can only follow one person at a time.

I really enjoy my current work place; I have lovely colleagues and a very good manager. My boss has been very accommodating in providing me with all the help I need to carry out my role. I absolutely love the work that I do and love being busy, as there is nothing worse than sitting trying to put your day in.

I actually have two hidden disabilities; the second is Depression which I have lived with for over 20 years. I struggle every day with my Depression but with medication it keeps on a level peg to help me get through the day. People should never assume that a person who has a constant smile on their face is feeling ok inside.

From the day that I spoke to Action on Hearing Loss at the job fair, saying “I am only thinking about it” to 2 years down the line – look at me now! I am very proud to have successfully gained a full time job, after 14 years being a full time mum and having 2 disabilities. I do think sometimes, ‘am I dreaming?!’ as it all happened so quickly.

Please do not let your disabilities hold you back and Employers don’t be afraid to take a chance on an employee who has a disability. Ask your disabled employees questions about their disability – most will be happy to talk about it.

Finally, all I ask is that if you see a deaf person please do not feel you cannot approach us as we are human just like you, the only thing that makes us different is that we can’t hear.